Hyperpigmentation isn’t necessarily a condition but a term that describes skin that appears darker. It can occur in small patches, large areas or affect the entire body.
There are several types of Hyperpigmentation:
Melasma is believed to be caused by hormonal changes and may develop during pregnancy. Areas of Hyperpigmentation can appear on any area of the body, but they appear most commonly on the stomach and face.
Sunspots. also called liver spots or Solar Lentigines, sunspots are common. They’re related to lots of sun exposure over time. Generally, they appear as spots on areas most exposed to the sun, like the hands and face.
Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. This is a result of injury or inflammation to the skin. A common cause of this type is acne.
Darkened areas on the skin are the main symptoms of Hyperpigmentation. Patches can vary in size and develop anywhere on the body.
The biggest risk factors for general Hyperpigmentation are sun exposure and inflammation, as both situations can increase melanin production. The greater your exposure to the sun, the greater your risk of increased skin pigmentation.
Depending on the type of disorder, other risk factors for Hyperpigmented patches may include:
Oral contraceptive use or pregnancy, as seen with Melasma
Darker skin type, which is more prone to pigmentation changes
Drugs that increase your sensitivity to the sunlight
Trauma to the skin, such as a wound or superficial burn injury
It’s not always possible to prevent Hyperpigmentation. However, you can protect yourself by:
Using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 if not more
Wearing protective hats or clothing that block sunlight
Avoiding the sun during the time of the day when it’s strongest.