The Colour of Skin
Even with the smoothest of skin, uneven pigmentation and colouring can ruin an otherwise perfect complexion. The result of the aging process, sun exposure, trauma, acne breakouts, and/or genetics, blotches and splotches are typically caused by an excess of melanin.
What is Melanin?
Melanin is what gives skin colour. While it is present in the skin, hair and eyes, it also exists in brain nuclei. There are two main types of melanin in the skin: eumelanin and phenomelanin.
How Melanin is Produced
Melanin in the skin is produced by the brain cooperating with cells called melanocytes. In the skin, melanocytes exist in the bottom of the top layer of skin (known as the epidermis). Your brain sends a hormone (MSH) out, which the melanocytes receive with the help of a catalyst called tyrosinase. Then, a part of the melanocytes, called melanosomes, creates melanin. This whole process is known as melanogenisis. And because melanocytes operate at different levels of activity, it is believed that the slower the basal state, typically the lighter the skin.
Once melanin is produced, it gets transferred to major skin cells called keratinocytes so that it can move up to the very top layer to protect the skin from damage. That’s why sun exposure makes your skin darker, because it is actually the skin’s way of protecting itself from UV radiation. The role of melanin is to essentially transform this radiation to render it harmless, protecting the skin from its destructive properties.
However, melanin can only do so much and in the long term, sun exposure results in the development of age (aka liver) spots and melasma, what many people find on the back of their hands, shoulders, and face.
Acne can also cause discolouration, as any trauma to the skin can lead to concentrations of melanin. For some reason, hyperpigmentation occurs with the appearance of any type of scarring. However, the remaining scar may be lighter or darker in colour than the rest of the skin.
Another factor that may upset normal productions of melanin is pregnancy. This may be caused by hormonal imbalances which results in chloasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy”. Signs of chloasma are dark blotches on the face, particularly on the cheeks and forehead.
So now that you know everything about melanin and hyperpigmentation, isn’t it about time you did something about those unsightly spots?
With advancements in skin care technology, the solution is pretty simple.
The appearance of splotches and blotches can be minimized and eliminated with several methods. Great for all skin types, chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing and melasma treatment revitalize the skin and even smoothens out the complexion.
Another solution, considered safe for pregnant women, is microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is a treatment which gently removes dirt, grime and dead skin cells suffocating the top layers of the skin, revealing the smooth and even complexion underneath.
Laser treatment with the MedLite C6 can also effectively eliminate the appearance of melasma and chloasma.