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All metals are in a constant state of trying to return to their natural state as they were in the ground. Corrosion byproducts/rust is the most common visual evidence of that process. Some elements/materials tend to accelerate the process while others tend to slow it down.
The material found in some tap water can tend to accelerate the process.
Drain fixtures come in a wide range of quality. The less expensive ones are made of a cheaper material and more likely to corrode faster. Chrome drains, for example, are "dipped" in chrome which creates a barrier between the metal and the materials (i.e.: water, oxygen, etc...) that cause corrosion. If that layer of chrome gets chipped or worn off, corrosion will start almost immediately.
I suspect replacing the drain unit with a better quality one (i.e.: stainless) will greatly reduce this problem if not eliminate it altogether.
@Donna, have you been using drain cleaners or Bleach in the sink regularly? Cause either one of those has such a high impact on metals...