6 Types of Pigmented Lesions and How They Present

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Anne Marie Ponce de Leon

Skin color is a consequence of various chemicals in the body and genetics handed down from one generation to the next. The quantity of melanin generated by skin cells is essential in determining skin color in darker-skinned people. Skin that is lighter in color, despite the presence of melanin, is the consequence of connective tissue and hemoglobin found in and around the dermis. 

The color of an individual’s skin is never wholly consistent, and it may also vary dramatically when exposed to ultraviolet light. Skin that has been affected by this condition may develop into patchy or blotchy pigmented lesions. Pigmented lesions often include melanin resulting in tiny or large patches of the skin that are brown, black, or even blue, depending on the severity of the condition. Even though pigmented lesions are most frequently benign, they may sometimes be malignant. 

Benign pigmented lesions may manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including:


Freckles are tiny, flat brown markings that appear on the face and other sun-exposed regions of the body after exposure to the sun. They are most often observed in individuals with light skin tones, although they are a hereditary trait that may affect those with darker skin tones in some instances. 

As a person grows older, this kind of freckle becomes more apparent. By avoiding excessive direct sunlight and applying sunscreen daily, you can prevent the development of freckles. LightPod aerolase and Alma Harmony technologies are effective ways to eliminate them safely at Z Med Clinic. 


Melasma presents as a light or dark brown discoloration on the skin’s surface and can be confused with freckles. However, it is typically due to a combination of hormones, genetics, and excessive sun exposure. Melasma may afflict anybody, but it is more prevalent in women.


Hyperpigmentation is overactive melanin production, and it is a condition more prevalent in individuals with darker skin. Unlike freckles, hyperpigmentation often presents in larger patches and can affect the entire body. Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation.

Seborrhoeic Keratoses 

Seborrhoeic keratosis is a superficial skin overgrowth that is dark in color and slightly elevated on the surface. It is caused by the effects of age and sun exposure. They may be visible on the face and in regions exposed to the sun, such as the limbs. Seborrhoeic keratosis typically does not progress to the stage of skin cancer, and can be treated using liquid nitrogen and electrocautery. 

Skin Tags 

Skin tags are small, skin-colored, or brown growths that frequently appear on the neck, underarms, and face. They are caused by a bacterial infection and are non-cancerous. Snip-excision and electrocautery are also effective methods of removal.


Moles are caused by aberrant collections of pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin, which may be seen on the skin surface. They manifest themselves throughout infancy, adolescence, and early adulthood. The majority of moles are pigmented and dark in color. When moles first emerge, they are tiny, flat, and pigmented; however, as they age, they grow elevated, dome-shaped, and often seem lighter in color. In the case of moles that acquire uneven borders, bleeding, or a rapid rise in size, you should contact a dermatologist as soon as possible. Small flat moles may be treated with a laser, while you should surgically remove more giant moles.

Final Thoughts

Even though most pigmented lesions are not malignant, it is nevertheless recommended that you contact your dermatologist for an appropriate diagnosis. That is especially true if the lesion changes color or form, bleeds, or is irritating all of the time, as described above. In most instances, your dermatologist may conduct a simple biopsy, which involves the removal of a tiny portion of the lesion for examination.

While many pigmented lesions are benign and do not present immediate concerns, changes in the lesion or discomfort should be evaluated by a medical professional. You can have your pigmented lesions treated at our wellness clinic in Houston. Call us at (713) 541-6988 or at (281) 292-3030 to schedule a consultation.

Anne Marie Ponce de Leon

Medical Director

About Anne Marie Ponce de Leon

Anne Marie Ponce de Leon MD is a proud native Houstonian. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Houston Baptist University with a double major in Biology and History. For medical school, she attended the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (recently renamed McGovern Medical School). She began her family practice training at Tufts University Medical School in Boston, MA, but subsequently returned to Houston where she completed her residency at the Memorial Southwest Family Practice Program.

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