Friday, September 14, 2012
How do i Deal with hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is darkening of skin due to excess melanin secretion - a skin disorder that could be due to sun exposure, hormones,skin inflammation (acne) or injuries. Human skin has specialized cells called melanocytes that are capable of making and secreting 'melanin', a pigment that is also present in the retina of our eyes and our hair. Melanin has the unique capability to absorb UV radiation and in doing so, prevents the harmful effects of sun exposure. UV radiation causes damage to our DNA, producing harmful mutations thereby increasing the risks of skin cancer. Thus, it is a normal biological urgency of our body to produce more melanin in response to sun exposure causing a tan. Normally, this affects equally to all skin types including Asian, mediterranean or African skin tones. However, when melanin is produced excessively, it may cause hyperpigmentation. In this case, skin may show dark spots or patches, often intensifying already existing freckles. However, some people having mutations in MITF, a particular gene of the melanin biosynthetic pathway, do not get darker tan when exposed to sun. These people are called the 'redheads' who run the risk of skin cancer more than the rest of us.
Skin darkening or hyperpigmentation can also occur due to some physiological conditions or diseases. Addison's disease and Cushing's disease are good examples. Melasma where hyperpigmented spots are found in pregnant women can be another example. Whatever be the cause, the current treatment of these conditions are often the same. Skin ointments containing bleaching chemicals like alpha -hydroxy acids are effective over a long period of time. Other chemicals and/or botanicals are also in use for treatment of hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid are some of them. Tretinoin cream or retinoic acid is also effective under certain circumstances where pigmentation is due to acne. Some anti-aging skin formulations also brightens up dark skin due to the presence of anti-oxidants in them that prevent skin damage from stress induced by free radicals.
However, the best way to deal with hyperpigmentation from sun exposure is to prevent it in the first place. Sun screen lotions that has a higher SPF, protects skin from UV exposure, thereby reducing skin's response with excess melanin secretion. This not only prevents excessive skin darkening but also prevents DNA damage in the skin cells thereby lowering the risk of skin cancer.