Cutaneous pigmentation is the coloration created by the deposit of melanin in the skin.
Melanin is a black or blackish brown pigment in the form of granules which exist in certain cells of the skin called melanocytes. Melanin determines the color of the skin.
Due to genetic inheritance we can have more or less concentration of melanin in the skin. Some people do not have or have very little melanin in them, which is known as albinism.
Increased melanin production in the skin is called melanogenesis. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced damage, stimulates melanogenesis and this leads it to develop a tanning of the skin.
Alterations in pigmentation can trigger alterations in the coloration of the skin, both to excess and by default.
- Excess: spots (lentigo), melasma or chloasma, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Default: vitiligo
What is Lentigo?
Lentigo is a hyperpigmentation that presents itself as small spots on the skin, either brown or black, well delimited.
There are two fundamental types of lentigo: simple lentigo, solar lentigo solar or senile.
Simple lentigo appears in childhood and is not related to solar exposure. They are small (less than 5 mm) and flat, either black, brown or clear in colour, rounded or oval, with regular edges and homogeneous coloring. They can be found on any region of the skin surface.
Solar lentigo or senile lentigo is related to sun exposure, so it is usually located in areas such as the face, neckline, and arms.
It is a small spot, light yellow, light brown or dark brown, uniform, larger than simple lentigo (1 to 3 cm), with irregular contours but well defined.
They appear in the elderly, usually associated with other cutaneous manifestations of photoaging. They are often multiple, grow slowly and tend to come together. After the exposure to solar radiation, they may lighten slightly, however some persist indefinitely.
What is Melasma?
Melasma also known as chloasma, pregnancy mask, liver spots, is the dark coloration of the face that affects the forehead, cheeks and the mustache area, appearing as patches that sometimes extend to the neck.
It is a very common skin disorder and although it can affect anyone, young women (30 and 40 years) with shades of tan skin have it with more frequency.
Melasma is often associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is especially common in pregnant women, among those who are taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and those who take hormone therapy during menopause.
Sun exposure is also a major risk factor for developing Melasma.
Melasma often fades in a few months after having stopped taking oral contraceptives or hormone therapy, or after childbirth, but may reappear with other pregnancies or with the use of these medicines.
It is a big cosmetic problem that affects the quality of life, self-esteem and has social implications particularly in cultures where smooth skin and the smooth appearance of the face is a sign of good health.
Treatment of pigmentation
After a medical evaluation, the therapy is started slowly, if very abrasive substances are used we run the risk of irritating the skin and this can lead to a greater problem of hyperpigmentation called postinflammatory pigmentation.
- Protective sunscreens all year, if there is exposure to the sun, it must be applied every two hours.
- Depigmenting creams.
- Superficial chemical peels and/or media depending on the stain, being applied to the entire face or to the spot which is peeling.
- If necessary, laser will be used.
The results will be seen after a couple of months of treatment. Remember that pigmentation in general is a slow process and so is its cure.
What can I expect with the treatment?
It is normal during the procedure to have an itchy or burning sensation, redness and a fairly large amount of peeling.
When can I get treatment?
Treatment can be performed at any time of the year, although it is It is preferable to do so during the months when the sun does not Intensity as in autumn, winter and spring.
How long does the treatment last?
The spots may disappear at the second or third month of treatment, the Treatment to remove melasma can last for more than nine months.
Can I apply makeup?
You can usually apply makeup, although you should consult your doctor.