What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation on the skin, or dark spot, occur when some areas of the skin produce more melanin than usual. (Melanin gives the eyes, skin, and hair their color).
Causes of hyperpigmentation
There are several different causes of dark spots, as we describe here:
Also called sunspots, people can develop dark spots on their skin after being exposed to the sun or tanning beds.
Areas of the body that receive the most sun exposure, such as the face, hands, or arms, are most likely to develop sun spots.
Melasma is a skin condition that leads to small patches of skin discoloration. The condition is more common in women, especially during pregnancy.
Also called liver spots or solar lentigines usually appear on older adults or after extended sun exposure. They commonly appear on the face and hands, or on sun-exposed areas of the body
Medication side effects
Certain medications can increase skin pigmentation and lead to dark spots.
Dark spots can develop after a bout of inflammation on the skin. Inflammation may occur for various reasons that include eczema, psoriasis , injury to the skin, and acne.
Dark spots may remain after an insect bite, burn, or cut heals. These may fade with time.
Cosmetic skin or hair products can irritate the skin, causing dark patches to form.
Diabetes can cause areas of the skin to become darker.
How to get rid of hyperpigmentation
Although hyperpigmentation is harmless, some people wish to get rid of it. There are a range of possible treatment methods and home remedies that people can try. To prevent hyperpigmentation, or to stop it becoming more prominent:
Avoid exposure to the sun. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the skin and stop hyperpigmentation from becoming darker.
Avoid picking at the skin. To prevent hyperpigmentation from forming after an injury, avoid picking at spots, scabs, and acne.
People can try the following treatments to lighten dark patches of skin and remove hyperpigmentation:
Many people use topical treatments to treat hyperpigmentation. Topical treatments will include ingredients that lighten the skin, such as: azelaic acid, Corticosteroids, Hydroquinone, kojic acid, retinoids, such as tretinoin, vitamin C…
Some cosmetic procedures can also lighten areas of skin to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Cosmetic procedures for hyperpigmentation include:
Laser therapy, intense pulsed light, chemical peels, microdermabrasion…
It may also be possible to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation using natural remedies. However, there are no large-scale studies in humans to confirm that any of these remedies are effective.
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that can affect many people for many reasons. Types of hyperpigmentation include age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is a harmless skin condition that people can get rid of using removal techniques such as cosmetic treatments, creams, and home remedies.
If a person notices other symptoms alongside hyperpigmentation, they should seek advice from their doctor.
If a person wants to treat hyperpigmentation for cosmetic reasons, they can seek advice from a dermatologist or skin expert, who will be able to advise them on the best treatment methods available.