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Some skin conditions occur because the body produces either too much melanin (hyperpigmentation) or too little (hypopigmentation), which is the natural pigment responsible for the colour of our skin, hair and eyes. It’s melanin that protects the body from damaging ultraviolet light, which is why those with hypopigmentary conditions, such as albinism (causing light skin, white or pale yellow hair, and light blue or gray eyes) or vitilgo (which creates smooth, depigmented white spots on the skin) need to take extra care to protect their skin from the sun’s rays. ‘Liver spots’, which occur due to sun damage, are a common form of Hyperpigmentation (when the body produces too much melanin, causing skin to become darker than usual). Similarly, the skin condition melasma, which creates a dark mask-like discoloration that covers the cheeks and bridge of the nose, can often be triggered during pregnancy when haywire hormones lead to an overproduction of melanin that causes the “mask of pregnancy” on the face and darkened skin on the abdomen and other areas.