Hyperpigmentation: What Exactly is It?

Do you look in the mirror and see uneven coloring? You wish it would go away but don’t know what is causing it. Hyperpigmentation is a very common and usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker than the rest of the surrounding skin.

How Does This Happen?

The darkening occurs when an excess of melanin (the pigment that produces skin color) forms deposits in the skin; it can affect people of any race. Exposure to the sun and hormonal changes are amongst the ways that hyperpigmentation can occur.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

Solar Lentigines – Age or “liver” spots occur due to sun damage. The small, darkened patches are normally found on the hands and face or other areas that get a lot of sun exposure.

Melasma/Chloasma – Similar in appearance to age spots but are larger areas that appear most often as the result of hormonal changes. Pregnancy can trigger overproduction of melanin on the face (referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”) as well as darkened skin on the abdomen and other areas. Women taking birth control pills may also develop hyperpigmentation, as their bodies undergo similar hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.

External Causes

Skin diseases like acne may leave dark spots. Other causes of dark spots are injuries to the skin and freckles, which are an inherited characteristic.

Melanin is what protects your body by absorbing the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Usually, this creates a tan and makes freckles and other hyperpigmented spots more pronounced. To protect your skin from sun damage, or further damage, it is recommended that you apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to protect against UVA and UVB.

For more information on hyperpigmentation treatment, contact the experts at Summit Skin and Vein Care.

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