You’re not the only one with darker skin tones. Anyone can develop hyperpigmentation, a common skin disorder brought on by excessive melanin production. Continue reading to find out more about hyperpigmentation, its causes, and how to lessen it.

How do you identify hyperpigmentation? There are many different types of hyperpigmentation, in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colours, so it might not always be simple to determine which you have.

Here are four typical types, their appearances, and the causes of their formation.

1. Melasma

Darker patches of skin, mainly on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip, are a common sign of the skin disorder melasma. It’s more common during pregnancy while using the pills or hormone replacement treatment, and you may have even seen it referred to as a “pregnancy mask” because it’s frequently linked to hormonal changes.

The main cause of melasma is UV light, and subsequent exposure to it might make it worse. It typically results in pigmentation that is brown, grey, or just darker than your skin’s natural tone.

Like freckles, which also have an unknown exact origin, melasma can be more visible in the summer and less so in the winter. Study up on melasma.

2. Freckles

Perhaps the most recognisable form of hyperpigmentation is freckles. They appear as tiny, black dots that are typically smaller than 5 mm. They can be any shade from light tan to deep brown that is deeper than your natural skin tone.

If you have freckles, you may be more likely to have them due to your heredity, in which case you have probably been aware of them since you were a young child. When you’re younger, they often appear in the summer and disappear in the winter, but as you get older, they may become year-round visible. Although the freckle gene can be found in anyone, those with fair complexion, especially those with red hair, are considerably more likely to carry it. Some people have several, while others just have a few.

Freckles are a result of excessive melanin being produced by skin cells, but unlike other forms of pigmentation, they are not a symptom of UV damage. These can, though, become more noticeable when exposed to UV light, which is why summertime is when they commonly appear.

3. Age And Sun Spots

Sun spots, also known as age spots or liver spots, typically grow larger than freckles and develop on your cheeks and other exposed skin.

They are the outcome of repetitive sun exposure over a long period of time (usually 10–20 years), and they are more likely to appear in people over 40. However, if you frequently use sunbeds, or suntan, or wear poor sun protection, you may well see them early.

While chemicals like hydroquinone and azelaic acid can effectively remove sun spots, it’s still crucial to protect your skin with routine applications of SPF 30–50 to stop them from returning or becoming more obvious — and, of course, to shield you from UV damage! Learn more about maximising the benefits of your sun protection here.

4. Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Any severe skin condition, such as aggressive acne, bites, and burns, can leave a pigmented region behind. This condition is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and it is brought on by your body’s overproduction of melanin in response to injury or irritation.

Depending on your skin tone, PIH appears a different colour to you. It typically appears as brown or black spots on dark skin tones, but it can also be more red-toned on very light skin types.

Compared to the other common kinds of hyperpigmentation, PIH can be greatly lessened and even entirely eliminated with the right skincare.

Our dermatologist-recommended guide to lightening hyperpigmentation is provided below.

“It is best to apply sunscreen often to slow down Hyperpigmentation. Exposure to UV rays can worsen pigmentation and make impacted areas appear darker. Apply daily broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against UVA and UVB rays, and don’t forget to reapply at least every two hours.

Clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of numerous strong active ingredients in lightening hyperpigmentation. Tretinoin is a retinoid with prescription strength that stimulates skin cell turnover and lightens or evens out spots of pigmentation. If you also have acne, azelaic acid is highly good at clearing it up, while hydroquinone lowers the skin’s ability to produce melanin.

You might wish to visit a cosmetic doctor to discuss your alternatives for a laser or chemical peel in the rare event that prescription-strength medications aren’t completely helpful for you. However, it’s usually wisest and safest, to begin with a topical treatment strategy”.

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