Skin pigmentation. The uninvited neighbour who does a drive-by on your skin each time you overdo your time in the harsh sun. While you may not be holding out for a billboard-ready visage at all times, but an even skin tone is a reasonable ask. If left untreated, these seasonal dark spots can quickly magnify into a long-term nuisance, and that's one problem you can definitely do without.

Causes of pigmentation What are the causes of pigmentation?

Skin pigmentation implies darkening of the skin or dark patches on the face and body. It is often caused due to genetics or a hereditary tendency to develop skin pigmentation easily after any abuse to skin. However, you'll also find that the most common catalyst among Indian skin tones is sunlight. Darker skin types tend to tan very quickly, even on minimal sun exposure, and when not taken care of, can lead to skin pigmentation. Hormonal changes, clubbed with irregular use of sun protection, frequently causes stubborn, recurrent patches of pigmentation known as Melasma. Allergic reactions, weight gain, certain oral and topical medications and skin disorders such as acne and eczema can also compound the problem.

Is pigmentation permanent? Can it be cured?

In case the skin is affected at a deep level, the pigmentation stays in place for a long period and does not recover completely. When the extent is too deep, only the superficial component of skin pigmentation will reduce and it will require constant care and treatments to rectify the damage done.

Ways to prevent pigmentation What should my beauty routine include to avoid pigmentation?

Sun exposure is a major culprit for skin pigmentation, so ensure that you only step out with a broad-spectrum sunscreen containing SPF30 or more. Use a Vitamin C serum—that has an antioxidant effect—in the morning before heading out in the sun to reduce any existing skin pigmentation. At night, ensure that you remove your sunscreen and makeup thoroughly. Then, use a mild cream containing lightening agents like kojic acid, arbutin or sabi white with retinoid. Oral sunscreens are also recommended as they contain natural extracts that help prevent and reduce the darkening process triggered by sunlight.

Best treatments for pigmentation What is a quick solution for pigmentation?

The first step to recovery is understanding the problem—consult a certified dermatologist to understand the type and cause of skin pigmentation. At times, minor causes such as acne marks, eczema and skin disorders can be treated swiftly with basic medications.