Skin pigmentation is usually brought about by an infection on the cells responsible for melanin production. Melanin is vital in protecting the skin against ultra violet rays of the sun and the amount produced dictates the skin color of an individual. More of melanin means darker skin while less melanin means lighter skin.
An infection means that the normal production of melanin is interrupted hence a change in the skin color. The skin may all over sudden start to produce a lot of melanin, something that will make it turn darker. On the other hand, it may also produce a lesser amount of melanin, making it appear darker. This pigmentation may appear in form of blotches or spots on the skin mostly in parts of skin exposed to sunlight. Sometimes it appears in the whole body.
What are its symptoms? The most common are patches of pigmentation that occur all over the body especially in body parts exposed to the sun like the face, palms, arms, neck, part of the chest, upper back and part of the legs. These blotches often worsen with exposure to sunlight.
Pigmentation is caused by a number of factors. Sometimes it is just due to ageing and other times a lot of exposure to the rays of the sun. To be more specific, there are particular natural conditions that cause it. One of them is albinism and such is a hereditary condition that is as a result of lack of melanin on the skin. Others include vitiligo, sun bathing, poor nutrition, melasma, jaundice, pregnancy and menopause (because of the hormones) and illnesses like pneumonia.
Skin pigmentation usually occurs in people of all races. However, when it occurs the blotches are obviously more prominent in light skinned persons, hence the illusion that pigmentation occurs mostly in light skinned people.
It also occurs to people of all sexes. Making an assumption that pigmentation occurs mostly on women because of using of unsafe cosmetic products is wrong because it actually occurs with the same frequency on men too.
Variation of its frequency of occurrence sets in when looking at age. It is indeed true that pigmentation occurs to people of ages, starting from infants to the elderly. However, it occurs more frequently and extensively in people of the older age bracket, usually above fifty years of age.
There are many treatment options of pigmentation ranging from certain creams, power peels, kojic acids, etc. It is however advisable that you first consult a dermatologist to initiate the correct and most suitable treatment process.