Pigment spots

No one has flawless skin. Even though social media often shows people with all-around glowing complexions, that doesn’t have much to do with real life. Often there is no reason to worry, because the skin changes are mostly harmless. Nevertheless, for many they represent an aesthetic flaw. What are pigment spots and what can you do about them? You can find out about that and much more here.

  • Experts define these changes as a pigmentary disorder associated with colorations of the skin.

  • The development of pigmentation disorders is perfectly normal and medically harmless.

  • By means of peelings or laser treatments, the outer blemish can usually be removed well.

Pigmentflecken entfernen
From Head of Cosmetics:

From Head of Cosmetics:

Medically reviewed by:

Medically reviewed by:

Pigment spots: Simply explained!

To find out how you can treat pigmentation spots and whether it is time to see a doctor, you should take a look at the form of the pigmentation disorder. But how does the skin get its pigments? In the upper layer of the skin, pigment-forming cells called melanocytes produce the color-giving substance. This is melanin. This prevents harmful UV radiation from penetrating into deeper layers of the skin and at the same time provides a skin tan. When a disturbance of the natural process occurs, by distributing it unevenly, color changes appear. As a result, a pigment spot is formed. Here we distinguish two forms:

  1. Hyperpigmentation: melanin is present in excess, resulting in increased pigmentation.
  2. Depigmentation: Pigmentation is reduced or completely absent (loss of pigment).

When pigment spots become a problem

Pigmentary changes usually occur on areas of the body that are not covered by clothing. Then the sun has free access to the skin and sets unwanted processes in motion. Although pigment spots per se are harmless, they can now and then be mistaken for medically questionable skin changes. Therefore, it is advisable to observe the skin spots and follow the ABCDE rule.

A = Asymmetry
B = Limitation
C = Colour (color)
D = diameter
E = Sublimity

If you find patches on your skin that don’t show clear symmetries or look frayed at the edges, they may be signs of skin cancer. Likewise, you should see a doctor if nodular bumps grow, colored shading appears, or the spots are larger in diameter than ordinary blackheads.

What are the first signs

Pigment spots are caused by either a deficiency or excess of the pigment melanin. Signs of this are areas of the skin where the color is too weak or too strong. An excess of melanin is manifested by enormously pigmented changes (brownish spots). In contrast, there is melanin deficiency, which results in absent or weak or whitish coloration of the skin (depigmentation).

The color changes may occur on several body regions or be localized. Some affect the entire skin surface. Symptoms vary in severity depending on the form, as pigmented spots differ in symmetry, size, color and expression. Excessive pigmentation manifests itself, for example, in the form of liver spots, birthmarks, age spots or freckles. A pigment disorder in which too little melanin is produced results, for example, in white spot disease or albinism.

What causes pigment spots

Pigment spots always have something to do with an imbalance in melanin production. In women, hormonal influences often cause spots. The female hormones progesterone and estrogen are considered to be mainly responsible. Therefore, it happens that during pregnancy skin discoloration suddenly appears. Sometimes they regress, but in most cases the pigment disorder can only be removed by treatment. Especially on the face, they are often perceived as unaesthetic.

Furthermore, skin lesions can lead to skin discoloration. Medically, we refer to this as postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. Most often this occurs after inflammatory processes such as psoriasis or acne. Due to the inflammation, the skin cells work at full speed and send out an excessive amount of pigment grains. After the inflammation has healed, the skin stains remain as an unwanted souvenir.

The natural process of skin ageing is also responsible for its development. Especially with regular and excessive contact with sun rays skin discoloration is formed. As a result, the activity of skin cells increases by releasing a lot of melanin. This leads, for example, to age spots, which are characterized as unpleasant by most of those affected. With high sun exposure, especially the face, décolleté, neck and hands are affected by it

When should pigment spots be treated

The problem: laypersons are often unable to distinguish or are confused as to whether it is a harmless birthmark or a serious skin change. That is why it makes sense to have regular check-ups with a dermatologist. With a thorough skin check, the doctor can usually give the all-clear or even detect and treat malignant skin changes at an early stage.

Despite the skin screenings, it is important to keep an eye on the skin itself. Here, the ABCDE rule provides optimal assistance in the assessment of pigment changes (see: When pigment spots become a problem). Likewise, there are reasons for the treatment of pigment spots that are purely aesthetic. Affected people sometimes suffer psychologically, especially when facial pigmentation spots appear at a young age. Since mental well-being is an equally important part of health and life, treatment can help.

Any questions? Our FAQ section has the answers!

Some swear by home remedies such as lemon, blood orange or papaya. Regular application of the juice should help say goodbye to skin lesions. Although these fruits are all rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which is why they are certainly anti-ageing foods in the broadest sense, there is no scientific proof that they are effective in treating pigmentation spots. Medical treatment methods in the form of fruit acid peelings or laser treatments, on the other hand, are reliable.

Pigmentation disorders can appear quite suddenly. This can happen due to a hormonal change during pregnancy or menopause. Skin injuries and excessive sun exposure also cause the unpleasant pigmentary changes to grow. The skin cells produce more melanin in response to certain stimuli. The result: pigment spots appear. But they also occur more frequently with increasing age.

Pigmentation spots can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. Because this is important for collagen production and helps to keep the skin healthy and radiant. Sufficient intake through a balanced diet or dietary supplements can prevent or reduce the appearance of pigmentation spots or blemished skin.

Yes, the skin changes can fade as quickly as they came. However, most of them remain permanently, so they can be removed effectively and safely only by professional treatment.

More questions? Simply make a personal consultation appointment online.


Last updated: 16.01.2024