What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin excessively produces melanin brought on by several possible factors such as cancer medication side effects, overexposure to the sun, and hormones. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. 

Hyperpigmentation can affect any skin type and can occur in small patches, larger areas or even worse, it can affect the entire body of an individual. An increase in pigmentation isn’t a serious health condition but it can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Plus, people suffering from hyperpigmentation might suffer from low self-esteem and confidence. 

There are several types of hyperpigmentation and it pays if you know what type of hyperpigmentation you have so it will be easier for you to find a treatment for it. 

Types of Hyperpigmentation

Here are the types of hyperpigmentation and how to spot it.

  • Melasma. This is also called the mask of pregnancy because it’s very common with women especially those who are pregnant or taking birth control pills. Melasma occurs due to hormonal changes and usually, they mostly appear on stomachs, foreheads, and face. 
  • Age spots or sunspots. When a person is exposed to the sun for an extended period of time, he/she is likely to suffer from this type of hyperpigmentation. Generally, they appear on older people and are commonly found on the face and hands of the body area that is exposed to the sun.
  • Post-inflammatory. When a person is suffering from an injury or inflammation, this type of hyperpigmentation may affect him/her. Usually, they appear on the face or neck. Patches of darkened skin may be expected such as acne or eczema. 

Hyperpigmentation and Melasma

One of the most common types of hyperpigmentation is melasma. It usually covers a larger area of skin and to make it worse, they usually appear on the face. Though melasma is more common in women, people with darker skin are at higher risk too. 

Pregnancy alters the hormone levels in women resulting in hyperpigmentation. When a woman is pregnant or taking birth control pills, it can affect the melanin production of the skin. However, when a woman is no longer pregnant or stops taking the pills, melasma may disappear on its own.  Individuals with an endocrine disorder like Addison’s disease are also susceptible to hyperpigmentation.

People suffering from hyperpigmentation should consider seeing a dermatologist or licensed esthetician. They will be able to come up with a treatment plan suitable for your condition.