What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

A common skin disorder is hyperpigmentation, or a darkening of the skin pigment. Many different diseases, disorders, and actions can lead to hyperpigmentation. By knowing what is causing your dark spots or other skin pigment changes, then you can find the best way to return your skin to its normal color. It is possible to treat and repair the damage that causes hyperpigmentation.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of melanin, the pigment in the skin cells. It can happen to just a small area, creating a freckle or spot, or it can cause problems on a large area of the body. Some people also have hyperpigmentation over their entire body. Typically, hyperpigmentation is not dangerous, making it solely a cosmetic concern. However, it could be symptomatic of another disorder that may be serious. Therefore, you should discuss any hyperpigmentation symptoms with your doctor to ensure there is not a serious condition underlying your skin disorder.

How Does it Develop?

One of the most common forms of hyperpigmentation is sun spots. These are the small to medium spots on your skin, typically the hands or face. They are caused by sun damage to the skin cells that creates an increase in melanin production in just one area of the body. Another common reason for this skin problem is melasma, which is a specific type of hyperpigmentation that arises during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes. Other disorders that affect your hormones, such as Addison’s disease, can also cause a change in melanin production. If you take certain medications, then you may experience hyperpigmentation as a side effect. Freckles are also a form of hyperpigmentation. Injury to the skin is another reason for hyperpigmentation development.

Read: What is the Difference Between Freckles and Age Spots?

How Can You Treat Hyperpigmentation?

There are a few different steps to treating hyperpigmentation. If an illness such as Addison’s disease or some other specific condition such as pregnancy causes it, then you should discuss with your doctor ways to control the hormones or other factors that contribute to the increase of melanin. If you believe it is caused by medicine, then discuss trying another medication instead. Wearing sunscreen and minimizing sun exposure can prevent hyperpigmentation due to excessive exposure to UV rays.

Once you have the cause under control, you can treat the areas of dark skin with a skin lightening cream. However, you want to ensure you do not use creams with harmful or toxic ingredients, especially if you are pregnant or have a medical condition. Common lightening ingredients and bleaches, including kojic acid and hydroquinone, can cause more harm then good, even if they work. Therefore, you should focus on using natural ingredients that will not only lighten your skin, but also help your skin to heal and look its best.

Licorice root extract and vitamin C are two powerful ingredients that nourish the skin, helping it to heal itself, while also expediting the lightening of the dark spots. If you find that your problems do not improve even with treatment, then you can discuss more invasive treatments with your doctor. You do not have to live with your hyperpigmentation; you can get your skin back to looking its best.

Have a question about your scar or dark spots? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Comments

  1. Alyson Borges says:

    I have dark blotches on either side of my chin thanks to tweezing thick, black chin hairs for 20 years. It looks horrendous and I’m embarrassed to even leave my house. It’s not individual spots either, it’s two darkened patches of my skin that look like smeared dirt. I don’t know what to do. I can’t afford laser or electrolysis so I was thinking of buying a home electrolysis machine for the hairs, but what do I do about the dark blotches? I’m afraid to use hydroquinone because I’m afraid it’ll make the dark spots darker. Please help me! I’m desperate…

    • Hi Alyson, we’d recommend against doing the electrolysis yourself and leave it to a trained professional. You could end up burning your skin and creating a bigger issue. You are correct to avoid hydroquinone, as it can have negative effects on the skin. You can try a scar cream with Vitamin C to fade the hyperpigmentation, but the main issue is that as you continue to tweeze, it is re-injuring the skin, which is what is causing the hyperpigmentation. With any scar therapy, you absolutely need to be consistent in that you have to apply it twice per day for about 12 weeks to begin to see a difference. Since this is on your face, you’ll also need to wear broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+ daily – this is in addition to any facial moisturizer that says it has SPF because it is usually only SPF 15. UV rays darken hyperpigmentation, so it’s best while trying to fade it, to protect the area.

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