Hyperpigmentation is characterized by a darkening of an area of skin caused by the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. Hyperpigmentation can cause significant distress as the dark spots can appear anywhere from the body and hands to other highly visible body parts such as the face that can be difficult to hide. While hyperpigmentation is considered a more severe condition, it's milder counterparts come in forms of freckles and age spots.
5 Causes of Hyperpigmentation
1. Sun Exposure
Sun exposure is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation as sunlight is the primary trigger for the production of melanin. Melanin acts as your skin’s natural sunscreen by protecting you from harmful UV rays. However, excessive sun exposure can disrupt this process, leading to hyperpigmentation.
2. Inherited from Genes
Hyperpigmentation can be passed on to the next generation through genes. The skin condition can most likely prevail in later generations during their lifetime.
3. Hormonal Changes
Melasma (a form of severe pigmentation) is primarily caused by changes in female hormones. It affects mostly pregnant women where they experience severe hormonal imbalance during their pregnancy. Pigmentation is also more prevalent among people with darker skin.
Hyperpigmentation is also a side effect of certain medications such as antibiotics, anti seizure drugs, chemotherapy drugs, antimalarials, certain hormone treatments and other medications.
5. Inflammation & Skin Injuries
Hyperpigmentation can occur following a skin injury or inflammation such as a cut, burn, chemical exposure, acne, eczema or Psoriasis. It occurs when the skin is left darkened and discoloured after the wound has healed.
6 Ways to prevent Hyperpigmentation
Always wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or higher 30 mins before going outdoors. Re-apply as needed throughout the day especially after swimming or sweating. UV rays can be strong even on a cloudy day.
2. Stay Under Shade
Avoid prolonged UV exposure by seeking shade, wearing broad brimmed hats, and wearing UV-filtering clothes.
3. Use Gentle Skincare
Use gentle skincare to avoid worsening skin inflammation and possibly to confer skin benefits.
4. Treat Injury & Pigmentation at One Go
Consider treating the any skin irritation or injury with a drug that could also benefit hyperpigmentation (such as retinoids or azelaic acid for acne).
5. Look for Hydroquinone
Consider hydroquinone-based products that works well with fading uneven skin tone, brown or dark spots, and lightening the skin. Alternatively, use prescribed skincare if appropriate.
6. Avoid "Fade Creams"
Avoid using “fade creams” not specifically recommended by the physician.
I'm Already Troubled with Pigmentation
If you are already troubled with pigmentation, prevention is not enough. There are several doctor-designed treatments that are non-invasive, no downtime and no pain (see available treatments) that helps lighten pigmentation safely and effectively.
To understand more specifically about your skin concerns, it is best to arrange for a complete skin analysis with us to find a custom-fit solution for you.