Pigmentation refers to the discolouration of the skin. These are areas that appear darker brown, black or grey. All skin types can get pigmentation as it is caused by the over production of melanin, which acts to protect the skin against damage.



Melanin is a pigment produced by melanocytes within your body.  It is responsible for the colour of your skin, hair and eyes.  There are 2 types of Melanin within your body, that affect your skin:

Eumelanin – is a black and brown pigment. The more your body produces, the darker your skin, hair and eyes will be. India and african cultures tend to produce more.

Pheomelanin – has a red hue, and is largely found in areas such as the lips. Fairer skin tones tend to have a pink undertone and therefore produce more pheomelanin than Eumelanin. Such as a redhead with fair skin.

It is known that the fairer your skin, the more sensitive you are to sunburn. Therefore Melanin acts as  your bodies natural defense mechanism to harmful UV rays. When you are in the sun, your body produces more melanin. The usual result of this process is the skin tanning/ going darker or in fairer tones, getting freckles.

Therefore the more Melanin you have, the more protection you have from sun damage, however it isn’t enough to offer free radical protection and therefore we always recommend a comprehensive sunblock.If the cells are damaged, (such as oxidative stress, burns or even severe acne) it can result in hyper-pigmentation, where certain patches of your skin go darker.

The treatment of pigmentation is therefore always 2-fold: 

1.  To lighten the area that is pigmented and remove the damaged cells
2.  To impede the production of melanin within the melanocytes of that area.

Pigmentation is often caused by UV exposure, injuries to the skin, stress and/ or hormonal changes. When left untreated pigmentation can get darker and more prominent. Which becomes very difficult to treat.

There are a variety of different types of pigmentation and it is important to establish what pigmentation you have in order to treat it correctly.

treating pigmentation


Hyper-Pigmentation is the most common form of pigmentation, where patches of the skin appear darker brown or black. It can occur to all skin tones and appear anywhere on the face and body. The primary cause of this pigmentation is UV / Sun damage.

Generally hyper-pigmentation lies within the epidermis (upper layer) of the skin and is therefore slightly easier to treat. With visible results within 1 – 3 months.


Depending on the severity of the pigmentation, a combination of the above treatments may be needed for improved results.



This type of pigmentation is caused by wounds to the skin.  Usually appearing tan, brown,  black or blue/grey in colour. Post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation is one of the more common pigmentation problems that predominantly occur in people with darker skin tones (4-6)

As the skin tissue heals, chemicals called Cytokines are produced which help in the creation of new skin. However, these chemicals can also trigger the production melanin.  When melanin is produced excessively, it results in skin discolouration in that area. In addition, exposure to sunlight can cause the affected areas to become even darker.

Post Inflammatory Hyper Pigmentation can appear anywhere on the body, however it is most common on the face and neck. It usually lies with the dermis (inner layer of the skin) and is therefore more difficult to treat especially if left untreated for a long period of time.



  • Chemical peels
  • We have a variety of skin care products that are suitable to help lighten the pigmented area. We recommend including these during the treatment period, in-between peels, to further accelerate the healing process.


Our Visia Skin Analysis allows us to see exactly where the pigmentation is within the skin and the relevant cause and thus enables us to effectively treat the area and recommend the correct skin care.



Melasma or Chloasma is a type of pigmentation which often occurs during pregnancy or hormonal changes. It appears as patchy brown discolouration that spreads across certain parts of the face, making the overall skin tone look dull.

  • About 50-70% of pregnant women are said to be affected by chloasma.
  • Certain medication (such as birth control pills) may also make the skin more prone to pigmentation after exposure to UV rays.
  • One is also at an increased risk of developing melasma when there is a known family history.

Thus, to avoid stimulating further production of melanin, sun care is even more important for these individuals. Applying sunblock diligently and avoiding lengthy exposure to sunlight. When choosing sunblocks, it is recommended to go for those that protect against all broad spectrum light (therefore both UVA and UVB protection)



  • Chemical Peels once pregnancy and breast-feeding is completed.
  • Skin Care Products – Melasma can be lightened using suitable skin care products. We recommend that these are used for 3 -12 months and that a sunblock is worn daily. UV exposure will darken the pigmented area.

Click to view recommended Pigmentation products.



Usually tan, brown or black in colour, age spots vary in shape and size, from freckle size to more than 13mm. Age spots are also known as liver spots and they tend to develop on the skin after the age of 45, commonly appearing on the face, chest, hands and arms.

Even individuals who have never had pigmentation may develop age spots after a certain age. This is due to the skin thinning as we age and the under lying layers become more exposed, allowing pigmentation to come to the surface.

Melanin builds up in areas of the skin that have had frequent and prolonged sun exposure which results in age spots.





It is important to note that treating pigmentation is a process and needs commitment.

Wear sunblock and avoid exposure to the sun as this darkens the pigmented area. Expect to see results over a few months.  If left untreated, pigmentation can become permanent.


For further info or to book am appointment contact Just Skin on  021 433 1783  |  info@justskinclinic.co.za