What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when a surplus of melanin (the brown pigment that produces normal skin color) forms deposits in the skin. While the condition itself is not threatening to your health, many people find it highly unattractive and search for treatments to remove the spots. Hyperpigmentation occurs in all skin types, however people with darker skin tones are more prone to it. Acne, aging, sun damage, pregnancy & eczema are the most common causes of hyperpigmentation.
The 3 Types of Hyperpigmentation:
- Melasma -Brown to gray-brown patches on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip, however it can also appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck. Melasma is usually caused by hormonal fluctuations, for example during pregnancy, through use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.
- UV damage -Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays, but tanning lamps and beds are also sources. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells. Skin cancers start when this damage affects the DNA of genes that control skin cell growth.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) -Temporary pigmentation that follows an injury or inflammatory disorder of the skin. These patches are located at the site of the original injury or disease after it has healed. The lesions range from light brown to black in color. PIH will gradually lessen over time, however it likely will require professional treatments and a good home care regimen.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Chemical peels, Hydroquinone products, lasers, Microdermabrasion and microneedling are the five main treatments available. These treatments are suitable for all skin types except lasers, which should be avoided by all medium and darker skin tones. You should always consult your skincare expert to determine which option is best for your skin.
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