Hyperpigmentation: types, causes and treatments

Hyperpigmentation of the skin is not a serious medical condition, so there’s no need to worry about it if you notice the darkening of certain spots and areas on your body. Still, it usually isn’t aesthetically appealing, which is precisely why people find it very bothersome.


What exactly is hyperpigmentation

When it comes to the change in the colour of our skin and only in certain places, the problem lies within the production of pigment melanin. When the body produces too little, paler spots or lightening of the skin can occur, which is called hypopigmentation. On the other hand, when the body produces too much of the said pigment, the skin darkens in certain areas, which is hyperpigmentation. This usually happens on areas where the skin is naturally thicker such as elbows, knees and heels but unfortunately, depending on the cause, the spots can show up anywhere on the body and face.


The causes for hyperpigmentation

There are many different causes for hyperpigmentation and while the discolouration of the skin itself is not a dangerous health issue, it can shed light on the more dangerous problem that caused it. Still, some types of hyperpigmentation occur due to the changes in the body such as pregnancy and use of certain medications that can alter the hormonal levels. Other reasons for hyperpigmentation are skin inflammations such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and ringworm, endocrine diseases, hemochromatosis which occurs when the body is overloaded with iron and sun exposure. Some other health issues, such as kidney and alcoholic liver disease can also be the cause for hyperpigmentation which is why, even though the discolouration itself doesn’t pose any threat to your health, you should contact your doctor immediately so that you can effectively deal with the cause for hyperpigmentation.

Different types of hyperpigmentation

There isn’t much to the difference between the types of hyperpigmentation and the appearance of spots can differ depending on what caused them. In general, the biggest division is between freckles, sun and age spots, scars and melasma. Melasma is characterized by splotchy and pigmented areas on the face.

How to treat and prevent hyperpigmentation

It would be best to create your own beauty routine that involves regular exfoliation and application of sunscreen in order to avoid the occurrence of hyperpigmentation. This is very important since there is no one sure method of successful hyperpigmentation treatment and patients usually have to take care of the cause for it first. Still, some creams and lotions can help in minimizing the appearance of discolouration and spots when the skin problems are the main issue for hyperpigmentation. For example, products with alpha hydroxy acids can lessen the appearance of darkened spots but when applying a product with these acids one must avoid sun exposure. Therefore, sunscreen of at least SPF 15 is necessary even after the hyperpigmentation shows up on the skin. What’s more, Kojic acid and Vitamin C, which are also one of the main ingredients of whitening masks and creams can also minimize the appearance of dark spots.

When you first notice the appearance of dark spots on your body it would be best to consult your doctor as soon as possible so that you can determine the cause and take care of your skin and health properly. Try not to stress about it too much, because stress can also worsen the condition.

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