Hyperpigmentation is a condition that occurs when the skin’s pigmentation becomes darker. It often manifests itself as dark patches on the skin or freckling and spots. Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of an area of skin or nails caused by increased melanin. Hyperpigmentation can result in flat, darkened patches of skin that can vary in size and shape but are generally light brown to black in colour. People with darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation, especially with excess sun exposure, but it can affect people with all skin tones.
There are many types of hyperpigmentation, but the most common are:
- Pigment spots caused by sun exposure. They appear mainly on body parts that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands and arms and appear as small, darkened patches of skin.
- Melasma or chloasma. This form of hyperpigmentation is caused by hormonal changes which is why it affects the majority of pregnant women. Women who take birth control pills are also at risk of developing melasma because they cause changes in hormonal levels.
- Freckles appearing on the face. Although freckles are an inherited feature, they can become more prominent when exposed to sunlight.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation:
Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of factors, such as UV damage, melasma due to hormonal fluctuations, or as a result of skin injury, e.g. acne or laser treatment. Many of these factors are manageable, but some are unavoidable. Melasma, for instance, is common in pregnant women, and is often referred to as “pregnancy mask”.
Hyperpigmentation occurs in patches on the skin when the melanocytes, the cells which produce the melanin pigment, produce too much melanin due to over-activity.
Contact the clinic to find out more information on the recommended treatments to reduce pigmentation.