Skin Pigmentation

Skin pigmentation in any form is caused by a defect in melanin production, which causes the skin to either increase the amount of pigment in the skin, lower it or deplete it altogether. Pigment disorders can affect localized areas on the body or cover entire regions depending on the condition that is present as well as its specific cause. There are many reasons why skin pigmentation may occur, and part of treating your condition involves identifying the factors leading to its appearance. At Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery, we will choose the method of treatment most suited for your particular condition so that you can regain an even skin tone.

What Causes Skin Pigmentation?

The amount of pigment present in your skin is caused by a component called melanin. Individuals with lighter complexions have less melanin than those with darker complexions, and the more melanin that is present in the skin, the easier it is for the skin to absorb UV light. Skin pigmentation occurs when the cells that make melanin become damaged, causing the skin to change in color. There are a variety of reasons why melanin production changes and leads to skin pigmentation and not many causes are known, but oftentimes the condition can be traced back to genetics, the use of certain medications, sun exposure or hormonal changes.

Types of Skin Pigmentation

Pigment disorders tend to remain unnoticed until the skin starts to change in color, and when it does, its important to receive a proper diagnosis at Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery so that we can find the most effective treatment option. The procedure that we use to treat skin pigmentation will depend on the type of pigmentation you are experiencing, which could include:


Hypopigmentation is classified as a loss in skin coloring due to a reduction in the production of melanin. The condition is usually caused by some sort of injury that leads to scarring and discoloration, but can also occur from disease or after certain laser treatments that were administered incorrectly.


Hyperpigmentation is the appearance of dark patches on the skin that occur as a result of sun exposure, skin injury, hormonal changes or certain medications. Whereas a loss in melanin production tends of cause hypopigmentation, an influx of melanin can produce darkened areas on the skin. Pregnant women along with those who have Addison’s disease are likely to experience hyperpigmentation in some form as well as individuals who regularly expose themselves to UV light.


Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation that heavily affects pregnant women. The condition typically looks as though dark patches are lining regions near the face, forehead, nose and chin and generally escalates with sun exposure. Melasma often occurs alongside various hormone sensitivities, which can be a result of certain medications, pregnancy or hormone therapy.


Vitiligo is a form of hypopigmentation that causes white patches to appear on the skin. It can appear on almost any part of the body and even effects tissues inside the nose and eyes. The condition occurs as a result of destroyed melanin and is thought to be connected with certain autoimmune diseases, however the general cause of vitiligo is not known. It effects various skin tones, although the condition tends to be more noticeable in individuals with darker complexions.

What Treatments are Available?

It can be difficult to treat skin pigmentation as the causes of many of the associated conditions are unknown. However, certain treatment options have proven to be effective at creating an even skin tone in patients. At Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery, we can assess your skin condition and determine whether you are suffering from hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation or depigmentation and decide upon an appropriate treatment method based on our diagnosis. Generally, we diagnose skin pigmentation by learning about your medical history and examining the coloring on your skin. Based on what we learn, we can suggest treatments such as creams, lotions, prescription medications, laser therapy or a combination of treatments.

Many of the topical creams and lotions used to treat skin pigmentation — whether over-the-counter or prescription — will contain hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, which are ingredients shown to increase the production of collagen and other healing agents that help restore the skin and produce an even complexion. If laser therapy is suggested as a treatment option, skin renewal and revitalization techniques will be used to target discolored spots on the skin. Using both the Cynosure Elite+ and the Syneron eMatrix lasers, unwanted pigment can be reduced in a series of treatment sessions. A consultation with our cosmetic professionals and physicians at Laserderm Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Surgery will help you decide upon the best treatment option for your skin pigmentation. If you would like more information about the treatments we provide for pigment disorders, please contact our office at 631-979-0909 and schedule a consultation.