Skin Pigmentation

Dark Skin Pigmentation

An even complexion is always desired. Most don’t realise that effects of daily sun exposure. Regular sunscreen use can help to prevent unwanted discoloration from even occurring. It is worth reminding everyone that 90% of all skin pigmentation, age spots and skin discoloration is due to sun and tanning bed exposure.

Skin pigmentation is an abnormal darkening on the skin. The cells responsible for dark pigmentation are located in the top layer of the skin and are called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce a chemical compound called melanin by the action of an enzyme called tyrosinase. Melanin is what makes the skin tan on exposure to the sun.

Causes of Skin Pigmentation

As we grow older, skin pigment naturally deepens in colour and become more prominent. As we develop and grow, our ‘freckles’ can change to become solar lentigines; flat, brown marks. These skin abrasions tend to accumulate with age as a result of sun exposure and, once they appear on the skin, they will not fade in winter months. They are not cancerous and can occur anywhere on the body, but most commonly on the forearms, back of the hands, shoulders and face. Sun avoidance, use of a broad spectrum, high factor sunscreen, and appropriate clothing lowers the possibility of new lesions emerging in the future.

Skin pigmentation

Over time increased melanin may cause irregular dark spots on the face, back, arms, hands, and legs.

Sun damage

Sun’s UV light activated darkening of melanocytes in the skin. It’s no wonder that sun exposure is one of the main causes of hyperpigmentation. Furthermore, sun rays will darken already hyperpigmented areas, as well as give rise to lentigines and keratoses, also known as age spots, sun spots, liver spots and freckles.


Increase of pigmentation seen in the skin after an injury or inflammation to the skin such as a rashes, acne breakouts, scratching, bruising, surgical and/or laser procedures.


Pregnancy causes elevation of various sex hormones and activation of the tyrosine melanin system. Dark skin pigmentation during pregnancy is very common, and is known as the mask of pregnancy. Dark pigmentation is also associated with hormones present in oral contraceptive pills.


Darkening of the facial skin, due to a combination of risk factors such as family history, hormones, pregnancy, skin type, and sun exposure. Dark pigmentation is also associated with hormones present in oral contraceptive pills.


Prescription medications such as amiodarone, minocycline, tetracycline, bleomycin, cyclophosphamide, anti-malarial and others. Hyperpigmentation could be be a side effect of these medication or indeed a combination of two or more medicines.

Medical Conditions

Ill Health, systemic diseases such as Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, Haemochromatosis, Anaemia, Porphyrias and many others. These diseases tend to produce diffuse, generalised hyperpigmentation.

Treatment Options

Pigmentation is a trait characterised by discolouration in the skin. It can appear in the form of freckles, beauty marks, dark skin pigmentation and even melasma. At Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic, we can treat these skin concerns effectively using the latest laser and chemical brightening technologies.

Photofacial Treatment

Photofacial Laser is remarkable because it has the versatility to treat nearly all skin hyperpigmentation problems safely and effectively, while improving skin tone and texture too. The photofacial laser is gentle enough to treat delicate areas like the full face for a far more aesthetically pleasing effect. Typically treatments are performed in every 3 to 4 weeks and an average of four sessions is needed. Photofacial provides gradual improvement in order to stimulate natural collagen production and carries low risk to patients.

Following an initial diagnostic consultation and skin suitability typing and skin test shot administration, the treatment can begin. Multiple areas of the body can be combined in one session.

Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing

Fractional CO2 Laser resurfacing has become a popular option for patients seeking to enhance the appearance of their skin. Unlike traditional laser resurfacing, where effective results are associated with long periods of downtime, fractional CO2 laser technology offers a short-downtime solution for treating sun damage and skin pigment, as well as improving tone and texture.

The new generation fractional device use ablative wavelengths of 10400 nm also called CO2 Lasers. CO2 Lasers are considered the gold standard for skin resurfacing. The results are far more predictable and the results are certainly dramatic. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia or twilight sedation if desired. One session of fractional CO2 laser is all what’s needed and recovery is just over a few days.


Retinol work to reduce the appearance of age spots by helping the skin renew and heal itself. Retinol works over time. It should be incorporated into your skincare routine from and early age. It is beneficial to use soothing skin cleansers to help you tolerate the intense vitamin A invigorating activity. We recommend Demani Skincare R+ 1% Retinol Serum. Some people are sensitive to retinoids. We advise using a small amount of the serum on your skin, twice weekly and gradually build up tolerance.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a method of regenerating and resurfacing the skin by inducing a controlled wound to the skin. They remove the top layers skin to help induce collagen remodelling and therefore improve sun-damaged skin, skin pigmentation problems and the overall appearance of the skin. The strength of the chemical peel will determine its depth. AHA, BHA and TCA peels are popular. Deeper peels will have a greater number of complications and a longer recovery, but also will result in a greater improvement in the skin.


Illuminate is a prescription-strength skin brightening serum from Demani Skincare. It contains the naturally occurring hydroquinon precursor, arbutin. Alpha arbutin an extract from the bearberry plant that has powerful skin-brightening properties. It works by decreasing the formation of melanin in your skin, which is the cause of the brown discoloration. Illuminate is a skin serum used at home; it requires no preparation and is applied twice daily. Use it with skin soothing cleansers to avoid complications. It isn’t painful, although you should stop using it if you experience any of these side effects.

Related Treatments

Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing

Age Spots

Sun Damage