What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a fairly common skin condition, which occurs as a result of the overproduction of melanin along the skin’s surface. Melanin is the pigment which gives our skin its normal color – when it is overproduced it can often create dark spots and patches of discoloration that appear darker than the skin surrounding it.
Types of Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is common among nearly all skin types. The most common forms of hyperpigmentation include:
- Sun & Age Spots – Sometimes referred to as liver spots or solar lentigines, these are the most common form of hyperpigmentation, found most often in older adults. Generally, age spots are characterized by brown or tan spotty areas of discoloration – appearing most often on the face, hands, neck and other areas left exposed to the sun over long periods of time.
- Melasma – This condition is characterized mainly by larger patches of darkened, discolored skin. Melasma can appear in different areas such as the face (mainly the forehead), but also on the body. This condition is more common in women, who are experiencing hormonal fluctuations – often due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills. Also, those with darker skin types have a higher rate of developing melasma.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation – This form of hyperpigmentation appears most often as spotty patches of dark, brown skin as a result of an inflammatory skin condition, such as acne or eczema. Generally, if a patient suffers from an inflammatory skin issue, no matter the age, race or gender, they are highly susceptible to this type of discoloration.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation
Generally, there are 5 main causes of hyperpigmentation. They include:
- Over Exposure to the Sun – Causes the body to produce excess melanin as a defense mechanism against the sun’s harmful UV rays. It is the main cause of sun and age spots.
- Inflammation – Again, as a result of an inflammatory skin condition such as acne, lupus, eczema, and even some general cuts or scrapes – the body will create dark spots in the healing area.
This is more common in darker skin types.
- Hormones – When the body experiences changes in hormones, the skin may worsen or form brown spots of melasma.
- Allergic Reactions – Whether it be a result of medications like antidepressants, antibiotics or certain topical creams, the body can experience adverse reactions which will cause the skin to turn dark brown, black or even grey – in patches and spots.
- Medical Conditions – There are a number of different medical conditions that are known to cause dark spots on the body and face, including a variety of autoimmune conditions and blood disorders. These will often require further diagnostic testing measures.
Treatment of Hyperpigmentation
At Pura Dermatology, Dr. Lodha and his staff have encountered a wide variety of skin discolorations. Depending on the specific type of hyperpigmentation you might be suffering from, we can recommend a variety of treatment methods. Some of the most popular treatment methods we offer for skin discoloration include:
- Laser Skin Resurfacing – Helps remove the outer layer of skin and stimulate the production of new fresh skin cells.
- IPL Laser Therapy – Intense pulsed light therapy, uses an intense beam of light energy to target and obliterate the darker pigmentation.
- Chemical Peels – Help to resurface the skin’s outer layer and reduce the presence of dark spots and discoloration.
- Topical Creams – Depending on the specifics of your hyperpigmentation, Dr. Lodha may also recommend the use of certain topical creams that help to brighten the skin or reduce inflammation. Some of these include – corticosteroids, hydroquinone, retinoids, and kojic acid.
For more information on the specific treatment methods we offer, or to schedule a consultation, feel free to contact Pura Dermatology today.