Epidermal vs. Dermal Pigmentation

Fans of the Shrek movies might remember this classic quote: “Onions have layers. Ogres have layers…We both have layers.” Well, skin – like ogres and onions – has layers too. The two most notable layers of the skin are the epidermis and the dermis, which correspond to epidermal and dermal pigmentation. The epidermis is the surface layer of the skin, and the dermis is the inner layer that you cannot touch. You can experience skin problems on both layers.

Treating Epidermal and Dermal Pigmentation
If you have ever treated your pigmentation with a topical lightening product, like Meladerm, you were dealing with epidermal pigmentation. This is much easier to treat than dermal pigmentation because it responds to products from the surface. Dermal conditions typically have to be treated with lasers that are able to penetrate through the epidermis and reach the roots of the problem. This is why some patients respond well to lightening creams and others do not.

In some scenarios, dermal pigmentation is treated from within by way of special medication or invasive surgery. The surgery is usually the last resort though, as most patients respond to laser treatment and other alternatives. If in fact you have epidermal pigmentation, you should be able to correct your dark spots through the use of over-the-counter creams and lotions. You might spend longer than someone else treating your symptoms based on the extensiveness of your pigmentation. Nevertheless, you should be able to come out with bright, even skin in the end.

Finding out What You Have
Doctors are able to distinguish between epidermal and dermal pigmentation through the use of wood lamps and other apparatus. If you do not want to speak with your doctor about your condition, you may simply start with a lightening cream. If you don’t start to see some improvement within the first few weeks, chances are you may have a deep-rooted skin condition. If you see positive changes in your skin during that time, your problem may lie on the surface. In that case, you can continue using the product until you achieve your ideal skin tone.

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