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Light or dark: the development of pigment spots

As soon as the weather permits, many people prefer to enjoy themselves on the terrace. And of course in that one spot in the sun. But it is good to remember that the sun can bring about its ultraviolet (UV) light effects. The occurrence of pigmentation spots is one of them.

What is pigment?

Every person, but also animals and plants contain pigment. In this case we are talking about natural pigment, which is also called  melanin . Melanin is your skin’s dye produced by special pigment cells, the  melanocytes. The color of melanin can vary from yellow to red, and from brown to black. Everyone is born with the same amount of melanocytes, but how much melanin they produce differs per person.

More pigment means better protection against UV light

More pigment means a It is this amount of melanin that determines how your skin color looks. And it is this amount that also determines how well you are protected against the UV light of the sun. The following applies: the darker the skin, the better protected. That does not mean that light-skinned people should avoid that one terrace spot in the sun. The longer you stay in that spot, the more the melanocytes go to work. More pigment is produced. better protected against UV light

How do pigment spots develop?

That sounds pretty good, right? The longer you sit in the sun, the better protected you are against UV light? Unfortunately, there is a catch. While you’re still enjoying the patio weather, the melanocytes work harder and harder to make pigment. At some point they reach their limit. They get confused and that can mean one of two things.

In the first case, they are so exhausted that the melanocytes can no longer fulfill their function. Pigment is no longer produced and white spots appear on the skin. In the second case, the opposite happens. The melanocytes continue to work so hard that it translates into accumulations of pigment in the upper layers of our skin. Instead of white spots, dark spots can be seen on the skin. We call both the white and dark spots pigmentation spots.

Genes also play a role

Exposure to UV light is not the only factor that plays a role in the development of these pigment spots. How many you develop and how early that happens in your life is partly determined by our genes. Some pigment spots are already there at birth, or they arise during life as a result of aging.

Your predisposition to developing pigment spots

The presence of certain variations in your genes determines how great your predisposition is for the development of pigment spots. We look at the variations below:

  • A group of variations in the MC1R gene: associated with skin pigmentation
  • Variation rs10733310 in the BNC2 gene: associated with pigmented spots
  • Variation rs12203592 in the IRF4 gene: associated with hair, skin color and pigmentation spots
  • Variation rs6059655 in the RALY gene: associated with pigmentation spots after sunlight exposure
  • Variation rs4880 in the SOD2 gene: associated with skin aging due to sunlight

Get to know your skin better

Do you want to know what your DNA says about the development of pigmentation spots? Find out in your own Dermagenomics report. In addition to the development of pigment spots, this report provides much more information: from predisposition to acne and your degree of UV sensitivity to skin aging. Get to know your skin better now!