• Different Types of Pigmentation

Different Types of Pigmentation

A short while ago I wrote about pigment spots in my blog, along with an illustration made by Dr. D’lynn Waldron to show that it is not only wrinkles that make you look older! If you have just had Botox, laser treatment and peelings in the fight against wrinkles, you can just add another couple of years on for those unsightly pigment spots on your face…Which different types of pigmentation are there?

A common problem!

Around 21 percent of consultations with the cosmetic dermatologist are about skin pigmentation. It is therefore a very common problem. In general, pigment spots can be properly treated if you know which type you have and how deep the pigment is.

What is pigment?

Pigment is a brown colouring which is made by pigment cells. Your skin gets its colour when the small granules of pigment are transported up to the outermost layer of the epidermis. Exposure to sunlight increases the number of pigment cells producing pigment: the skin becomes brown. A fault in this process can lead to the presence of pigment spots. Pigment spots come in many different types and sizes. Below are short descriptions of the three most common types of pigmentation.

Post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation

Rather a complex name, but in simple terms this form of pigmentation arises due to minor skin injuries. You can think of, for example, insect bites, abrasions and acne, but for people who are sensitive to it, it can also arise through irritation as a result of peeling and harsh skincare products. This type of pigmentation is almost always temporary, but it can certainly take up to a year before it disappears.

Solar Lentigo

Also known as age (liver) spots. This form of pigmentation arises through exposure to the sun and is commonly seen on the skin that is frequently exposed to it (face, hands and arms). Unfortunately unlike freckles, these spots do not disappear in winter.


Irregular shaped brown spots that arise through a combination of genes, sunlight, heat and hormone regulation (the pill). They are most commonly found on women within the child bearing age group. Often they flare up during pregnancy- for this reason melasma is often called the pregnancy mask.

I’ll go into the different types of pigment in more depth later in my blog.

Regards Jetske.

(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read the blogs; ‘Bags Due to Pigmentation’,
A Healthy Tan’,
Ingredient Choice for Pigmentation
Help with Choosing Your Sun Cream‘, and
The Sun and Skincare Products: Not Always a Good Combination‘.

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