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Understanding Pigmentation

Ozhean AM - Understanding Pigmentation

The colour of each individual skin is influenced by several pigments – melanin, carotene and hemoglobin. The individual skin tones are depending on the amount of melanin that are taken up by the keratinocytes.

The melanocytes which are found in the stratum basale of the epidermis, produces melanin which are transported by melanosomes to be deposited in the keratinocytes. The individual skin tones are depending on the amount of melanin that are taken up by the keratinocytes.

There are 2 types of melanin:

ColourGives brown and black colourGives red colour
Treatment timeThe more eumelanin in your epidermis, the darker your skin, and vice versaIndividuals with fair skin, freckles-proned, red haired are associated with large amount of pheomelanin and small amount of eumelanin

Why do we get hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs due to irregular build-up of melanin in the skin, causing darkening spot or patches.

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When skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun or tanning salon, it will trigger keratinocytes to release chemicals that stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin. Consequently, cause darkening of skin due to the accumulation of melanin in keratinocytes.

The increased melanin production is to actually prevents the damaging effect of UV rays towards our epidermal cell DNA and break down of folic acid.

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If there is too much of sun exposure, it will increase the risk of destroying cell structures of the skin. When there is sufficient damage to the cells’ DNA, it may lead to skin cancer.

What are the common types of hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation can be congenital or acquired.

Congenital (present since birth)

Mongolian spots, cafe au-lait spots, nevus of ota, nevus of ito, blue nevus, etc.

When melanocytes grow in clusters, it gives the appearance of a mole.

Even though most are benign, we should keep an eye on their changes in size, color, pain etc that may indicate malignancy.

Acquired (develop through time)

Acquired pigmentation

Melasma, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, solar lentigines, ephelides, fixed drug eruption, seborrheic keratosis etc.

How can we prevent hyperpigmentation?

Keep your skin moisturised, and adequate sun protection when outdoors. Avoid products that irritate the skin such as sodium lauryl sulfates, harsh exfoliants, fragrance, alcohol etc. Get sufficient amount of essential nutrients for skin protection. Increase intake of antioxidants to promote healing, recovery, moisture and collagen production.


Here are some examples of foods to maintain skin health, strength and attractiveness: Fatty fish, Avocados, Walnuts, Sunflower seeds, Sweet potatoes, Bell peppers, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Soy, Cocoa, etc.

To know more about our treatments for pigmentation, click here.

Prepared by:

Dr Mikayla Chang

To know more about our doctor, please visit here.

Why Ozhean Clinic?

With full adaptation of trademarked FIT program created by a team of experienced Korea’s aesthetic doctors, conducted by our Malaysian professional doctors and with the use of most advance instruments, we strive to provide the most effective treatment program for you.