Table of Contents
- What Is hyperpigmentation?
- What causes hyperpigmentation?
- What are types of hyperpigmentation?
- How is hyperpigmentation diagnosed?
- How is hyperpigmentation treated?
- How can hyperpigmentation be prevented?
- Is hyperpigmentation a disease?
- What drugs cause hyperpigmentation?
- Does exfoliation get rid of hyperpigmentation?
Have you been questing to know more about hyperpigmentation, Its causes and why they appear? Then this article holds the answers to your questions.
What Is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin produces more melanin.
Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. It’s produced by skin cells called melanocytes.
Hyperpigmentation isn’t a serious issue and doesn’t call for serious health concern, it’s just a term that describes skin that appears darker. It can occur in small patches, cover large areas and can even affect the entire body.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is caused when there is excess production of melanin in the body. It is a direct result of an increased level of a hormone in your body that results in increased melanin synthesis.
Certain medications can trigger the production of melanin thereby causing hyperpigmentations as side effects, also pregnancy changes hormone levels and can affect melanin production in some women.
A rare disease called Addison’s disease can also cause hyperpigmentation.
Addison’s disease affects the adrenal glands. It can cause hyperpigmentation in certain areas of the body.
But above all, the sun is the greatest cause of hyperpigmentation as it stimulates the melanin producing cells which increases excess melanin production, which is why dermatologists would always recommend using sunscreen everyday.
What are types of hyperpigmentation?
There are several types of hyperpigmentation. The common ones being melasma, sun spots, age spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Melasma: Is a condition in which brown patches appear on the face. It’s a type of hyperpigmentation which occurs due to hormonal changes, sun exposure and may develop during pregnancy. According to studies women are much more likely to develop this condition than men.
- Sun spots: Also called liver spots or solar lentigines, sunspots are common. They occur due to excess sun exposure over time. Generally, they appear as spots on areas exposed to the sun, like the hands and face.
- Age spots: As the skin ages. Age spots appears, this spots are common on older adults (older than 50). They also appear like brown or black spots on sun-exposed areas of the skin.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: This occurs as a result of injury or inflammation to the skin. A common cause of this type is acne.
Acne can leave scars behind which is known as “Acne scars”.
How is hyperpigmentation diagnosed?
A dermatologist can diagnose the cause of your hyperpigmentation. They will request your medical history and give you a physical exam to determine the cause.
How is hyperpigmentation treated?
Topical skincare products which contains combination of skin brightening ingredients such as, retinol, AHAs, Alpha arbutin, hydroquinone vitamin C, and kojic acid can help fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation. You can read more on these ingredients.
How can hyperpigmentation be prevented?
- Avoid sun exposure, especially between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun’s rays are mostly harsh.
- Wear sunscreen every day. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) rating at least 30 and contain both UVA and UVB protection.
- Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours, and more often if swimming or perspiring.
- Wear protective clothing such as hats and long-sleeved shirts. These help protect your skin from UV rays.
Is hyperpigmentation a disease?
No. Hyperpigmentation itself is not a disease. The common cause of hyperpigmentation is an excess production of melanin.
What drugs cause hyperpigmentation?
Pigmentation may be induced by a wide variety of drugs; the main ones implicated include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), phenytoin, antimalarials,amiodarone, antipsychotic drugs, cytotoxic drugs, tetracyclines, and heavy metals
Does exfoliation get rid of hyperpigmentation?
Yes. Exfoliation is beneficial for breaking up the pigmented cells to allow them to fade. Combined with a skin-lightening agent like vitamin C, exfoliation will help accelerate the fading process. Incorporating exfoliating facial cleansers such as glycolic and vitamin C facial cleansers into your skincare routine will do a great job not only exfoliating your skin but also brightens away pigmentation.
In addition, the use of exfoliating acids can increase sun sensitivity, which can make the skin more vulnerable to the sun. Which is why you must use sunscreen to protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun.