Everything you need to know about hyperpigmentation

Have you ever noticed dark spots on your skin? These spots, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation, are common and usually harmless. However, we know it can be frustrating dealing with skin discoloration and not knowing how it got there or how to treat it.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment in your skin that gives it its color. When melanin is overproduced, you may notice dark spots or patches that are a  darker color than the rest of your skin.

Hyperpigmentation can occur on the face or elsewhere on the body. It can occur with any skin type, skin color and ethnicity.

What causes hyperpigmentation?

Although hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of factors, the most common cause is due to sun exposure. When exposed to the sun, melanin is overproduced to protect the skin from burning. This often causes sun spots, freckles and other dark spots across the face and body. Artificial light, as well as heat, can also cause hyperpigmentation.

Fluctuations in hormones are another common cause of hyperpigmentation. An increase in estrogen can cause blotches, known as melasma, across the face. Pregnancy and birth control pills are two main causes of hormonal hyperpigmentation in women. Although hyperpigmentation due to hormones mostly occurs in women, it can also be a risk factor for men.

If you suffer from acne, you may notice hyperpigmentation on your face in areas where you have had previous breakouts. Oftentimes, once a pimple or breakout disappears, a dark spot reappears in its place. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Sometimes, PIH can take longer to disappear than the acne itself.

How can you treat hyperpigmentation?

The best way to prevent hyperpigmentation is to wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 everyday. Using a broad-spectrum SPF or mineral sunscreen will protect your skin from sun damage, preventing melanin overproduction. Tinted mineral sunscreens containing iron oxide have also been shown to be very helpful in minimizing dark splotches on the skin due to melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Check out our shop to learn more about topical options to help with your hyperpigmentation.

If you are still struggling with hyperpigmentation issues, don’t worry! We are here to help.  Contact our office to make an appointment and learn about more options to treat your hyperpigmentation.

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