Hyperpigmentation is not a condition but more of a term that describes parts of the skin that appear darker. It is quite common, and when only small patchy areas are affected it can be treated using fotona laser treatments. Hyperpigmentation has the potential to cover large areas, sometimes affecting the whole body.
Hyperpigmentation is nothing too drastic to worry about. Typically when people choose to get it treated it is about wanting to improve one’s cosmetic appearance, much like dermal fillers can provide plump lips and enhanced cheekbones.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
The main cause of hyperpigmentation is producing excess melanin. Melanin is the coloring that gives your skin its tone. Melanin is produced by the skin cells that are known as melanocytes. There are different factors and conditions that can change the production of the melanin within your body.
Different medications cause hyperpigmentation. There is some chemotherapy medication that can cause hyperpigmentation.
Some pregnant women can develop hyperpigmentation due to the hormone changes that can affect your melanin production.
Melasma can be caused by hormonal changes that can develop during pregnancy. The areas of the hyperpigmentation can pop up on the different areas of the body but are commonly found on the face and stomach area.
Sunspots are also called solar lentigines or liver spots. Sunspots are common, and they are often related to too much sun exposure. Sunspots can appear as spots in common places like the face and hands.
This type of hyperpigmentation is the result of inflammation of the skin. Acne is a common cause of this type of hyperpigmentation.
What are the symptoms?
If you have darkened areas on the skin and patches that may develop anywhere on the body and vary in size it could be hyperpigmentation. The risk factor for having hyperpigmentation is situations such as inflammation, and too much sun exposure can increase your melanin production. The more you are exposed to the sun, the higher your risk is for skin pigmentation.
It will depend on the type of disorder that you have, and the other risk factors for creating hyperpigmentation include:
- Drugs that increase sensitivity to the sun
- Trauma to the skin like a burn injury
- Darker skin which can be more prone to pigmentation
- Taking oral contraceptives or going through pregnancy
Can hyperpigmentation be prevented?
You can’t always prevent hyperpigmentation. You can protect yourself and lower your chance of getting it by:
- Wearing clothing or hats that block out the sunlight
- Using sunscreen that has a high level of SPF
- Avoiding the sun during the times it is the strongest after 10 am and before 4 pm
What can I treat hyperpigmentation with?
Lightening creams can be brought over the counter, and they work with selected ingredients to lower the appearance of pigmentation. These creams do come in a prescription-strength if the over the counter creams are not doing anything.
Skin acids are another treatment for hyperpigmentation, and they work by shedding the top layer of skin off. When you exfoliate your skin, a new set of cells pop up to replace the old one. The skin tone will be evened out, and you will gain an overall smooth finish.
Talk to your doctor to get a recommendation of what is the best product for you.