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Skin Pigmentation: Causes and Treatments

Skin pigmentation refers to the colour of skin, which is determined by the amount and type of melanin, a pigment produced by specialised cells called melanocytes. Individual skin pigmentation is a mix of genetics and the environment. Revealing chapters of heritage, lifestyle, and even health. 

Patches that are darker or lighter than surrounding skin are known as hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. 

Let’s look at the causes of these colour changes. We'll see which skin types are more susceptible. And, we'll examine the skincare treatments to restore and keep the skin’s radiant balance.


Pigmentation is mainly due to melanin which is the pigment made by melanocytes in our skin. These cells can go into overdrive or clump up and cause changes in our skin's colour. 

The causes of these changes are as diverse as our skin tones themselves:

  • The sun's rays stimulate melanin production. This is a natural defence. Overexposure can lead to sunspots and other forms of hyperpigmentation.

  • Hormonal changes can cause melasma. Melasma is a type of skin pigmentation often called the 'mask of pregnancy’.

  • Inflammation causes post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). It can happen after skin injuries or conditions like acne heal.

  • Genetics determine our base skin colour and how prone we are to pigmentation changes.

Skin Types

The Fitzpatrick skin phototype scale classifies skin into six types. It is based on how the skin reacts to UV radiation. 

Types I through III have lighter skin, burn easily and get freckles and sun spots. 

Types IV through VI have more melanin and are more likely to get post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and conditions like melasma.

Finding your Fitzpatrick skin type involves assessing how your skin responds to the sun. 

Here’s a simplified guide to help you determine your skin type:

  1. Skin Colour: Consider your natural skin colour before sun exposure.

  2. Sun Reaction: Think about how your skin typically reacts to the sun. Does it burn easily, tan, or neither?

  3. Tanning Habits: Notice if your skin tans easily or if it rarely changes colour after being in the sun.

Based on these factors, the Fitzpatrick skin types are categorised as follows:

  • Type I: Very pale skin, often with freckles, that always burns and never tans.

  • Type II: Fair skin that usually burns and tans minimally.

  • Type III: Medium skin that may burn mildly but tans uniformly.

  • Type IV: Olive skin that burns minimally and always tans well.

  • Type V: Brown skin that rarely burns and tans darkly easily.

  • Type VI skin is deeply pigmented. It is dark brown to darkest brown. It almost never burns and tans easily.

For a more precise result consult with a skin specialist. They can assess you professionally using the Fitzpatrick scale. This scale is a useful tool for understanding your skin. It shows your skin's characteristics and how it may react to treatments. It is especially useful for skin pigmentation issues. Knowing your skin type is key to taking proper care of your skin and protecting it from damage.

Skincare treatments are a marathon, not a sprint. The time it takes to see results can vary based on the treatment method and the individual’s skin type:

Face by SM offers many treatments to target skin pigmentation, ensuring that clients can find a solution that works best for their skin. 


IPL Pigment Removal helps remove pigmentation. It's for sun/age spots and pigment issues. It makes skin brighter and more even. The IPL Pigment Removal works by targeting brown spots which then slough off in a few weeks. For dermal pigmentation, which is deeper in the skin, a longer laser wavelength is used. It breaks up the pigment without harming skin cells. Optimal results can be seen in as few as 2-3 treatments with 28 days between treatments.

DMK Enzyme Peels remove, rebuild, protect, and keep skin healthy. Working with the skin to strengthen its structure which is crucial for a healthy skin cell environment. DMK enzyme peels treat many skin conditions with botanical-based paramedical grade products.

Dermamelan is a two-step skin brightening treatment. It is made to treat melasma and hyperpigmentation. It addresses hormonal changes and sun exposure. Providing a solution for those looking for a more even and radiant complexion.

Maintaining the results of treatments is an ongoing commitment. You also need to prevent further discoloration.

  • Sun Protection: A broad-spectrum sunscreen is non-negotiable. It protects the skin from UV rays.

  • Skincare Regimen: Use salon recommended products to keep an even skin tone. They also stop dark spots from coming back.

  • Eating a balanced diet: Foods rich in antioxidants and ample hydration is key to help keep skin healthy from the inside.

Face by SM, focuses on empowerment, education, and personalised skincare. It blends science and nurturing. 

We believe in celebrating the unique story each skin tone tells and guide you to lasting radiance. Your skin is a living story and with the right care, it can be a fairy tale of health and confidence.

Disclaimer: This blog provides general knowledge. It should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a skincare professional before undergoing any treatment.

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