The Complexity of Pigmentation


For over a century, humans have been obsessed with skin color. With an ever changing population and multicultural diversity, skin care professionals are facing a number of challenges on how best to address pigmentation. This article will serve as a primer on pigmentation, its historical roots, cultural norms, the science behind changes in skin color, early treatments and today’s cornucopia of ingredients that may or may not be efficacious.

One of the most difficult to treat skin conditions is hyperpigmentation. In spite of the number of treatment options, including prescription and cosmetic topical creams, nothing has provided the perfect solution in pigment preventers and measurable improvement.

Whether pigmentation results from sun damage, acne, inflammation, birth control, pregnancy, hormones, prescription drugs or injury, it is caused by an irregular increase in melanin.

The Science of Pigmentation

Melanin is a dark brown to black pigment that is produced by cells known as melanocytes in the skin. This process is called melanogenesis. To treat and ameliorate this process, we need to disrupt the production of melanin. The keratinocytes regulate the melanocyte process through the release of chemicals that produce and drive melanin to the surface, and the activation of tyrosinase. Treating pigmentation involves disrupting this cycle.

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Si Author C Trow 300

Carol Trow has 20 years of experience in the medical skin care field working with Environ. Trow and her husband own DermaConcepts, the exclusive United States distributor of Environ Skin Care. She can be reached at [email protected].


Si Author R Trow 300

Rob Trow has published more than 100 articles on skin care science and practical business solutions. Trow frequently speaks about topics of interest at national and international meetings, as well as to medical spas, estheticians and physicians. He can be reached at [email protected].

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