• Pigmentation
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Skin is the largest organ of the body. It is made up of two layers, the upper 'epidermis' and the lower 'dermis'. The epidermis and the dermis are further divided into other layers.

The lower most layer of the epidermis is known as the basal layer and it contains organelles called 'melanosomes'. These melanosomes contain cells called melanocytes which produce a pigment called 'melanin'. The color of skin depends mainly on this melanin and the amount of melanin present in the other layers of the epidermis. The thickness of epidermis and vascularity of the epidermis are other factors affecting the color of skin.


Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin. Hyperpigmentation can affect the skin color of people of any race.

Melasma or chloasma spots are similar in appearance to age spots but are larger areas of darkened skin that appear most often as a result of hormonal changes. Pregnancy, for example, can trigger overproduction of melanin that causes the "mask of pregnancy" on the face and darkened skin on the abdomen and other areas. Women who take birth control pills may also develop hyperpigmentation because their bodies undergo similar kind of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. If one is really bothered by the pigment, the birth control pills should be stopped.

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