Hyperpigmentation refers to a condition where certain areas of the skin are darker than others. Spots or patches with extra melanin can appear brown, black or grey. Although the regions aren't painful or itchy, they can be embarrassing. Many lifestyle and treatment options can help, including sun protection and skin care.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation refers to a condition where certain areas of the skin are darker than others. Hyper means more, and pigment means colour. Hyper-pigmentation may appear in brown, black, grey or red spots/patches. These spots are also known as age spots or sun spots. These spots may occur in one or more areas of the body.
Can anyone suffer with Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation can affect anyone of any race or ethnicity.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Melanin is a substance that gives skin its colour. It is produced by skin cells. Melanin can be produced too often if skin cells become damaged or unwell. This can cause the area to look darker because of melanin clumping.
Many things can cause hyper-pigmentation:
- Adrenal Disorders like Addison’s disease. This happens when the body does not produce enough of a hormone called Cortical.
- Genetics is like a family with freckles.
- Hormone levels can change during pregnancy or puberty.
- Sometimes, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a term that refers to skin injuries (for example, breakouts, cuts, or burns).
- Medications such as birth control pills (or oral contraceptives) or drugs that cause sensitivity to light.
- Insufficient intake of vitamins B12 and Folic acid.
- Sun Damage (these spots often are called solar lentigines).
- Thyroid disorders.
Is hyperpigmentation a sign of something?
Hyperpigmentation isn't a condition that causes any symptoms other than dark spots. Talk to your primary care provider if you notice any skin spots or other symptoms.
How can hyperpigmentation be diagnosed?
To diagnose hyperpigmentation, a healthcare provider may:
- Ask about your medical history. Include when and what medications you are taking.
- Examine your skin, and do a physical exam.
- Examine your skin using a special ultraviolet light
- Test for vitamins, hormones, iron, and thyroid function, order blood tests
- A biopsy is a test that looks for abnormalities in the skin.
How can hyperpigmentation be treated?
Your healthcare provider might suggest lifestyle changes depending on the reason for hyperpigmentation.
- Sun damage can be avoided by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen.
- Increase vitamin intake
These treatments can help to target and treat your skin concerns
- Chemical Peels
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Cosmelan peel
Is it possible to treat hyperpigmentation at my home?
Many products can reduce skin pigmentation. Discuss your concerns with your therapist about which products might be right for you. Or book a consultation with skincare experts, who can share their advice and tips.
How can I avoid hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is not always preventable, but it can be minimised by protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure.
- Every day, apply sunscreen. Select one with a broad spectrum (blocks UVA and UVB) that has an SPF of at least 30
- Use physical blocks such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
- Protective clothing and hats are recommended
- Not spend too much time in direct sunlight
How long will I have hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation can be a life-long condition. Some dark spots can be treated, and others reduced with treatments. It may take several months or even a whole year to get results. Other spots may appear in the future, especially if your skin isn't protected from the sun.
Book your consultation today for hyperpigmentation treatment in Birmingham and reclaim even-toned skin.