Hyperpigmentation is a medical term for what many people refer to as brown spots, melasma or uneven skin tone. These are all localized areas of skin discoloration or dark patches on the skin. While hyperpigmentation is painless and often harmless, it can be a real detriment to your self-confidence – especially when it occurs on the face. In fact, uneven skin tone can make you look much older than you really are.
How Does Hyperpigmentation Develop?
Darker spots or patches of skin develop when the skin produces too much melanin, which is the brown pigment that produces normal skin color. When excess melanin forms deposits within the skin, it can make that particular area of skin darker than the surrounding skin. Excess melanin can occur in people of all ages and ethnicities. There are several different reasons why this hyperpigmentation can develop, including the following most common culprits:
- Sun Damage
One of the most prevalent forms of hyperpigmentation is age spots or sun spots. Not surprisingly, this discoloration is due to sun damage and is more common on the face and hands of aging adults.
- Hormone Changes
Women can be especially prone to hyperpigmentation due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menopause as well as when using birth control pills. In fact, melasma (also called the “the mask of pregnancy”) is a very common type of skin discoloration caused by hormones. Estrogen plays a role in the production of melanin, so when hormones change or surge, excess melanin and hyperpigmentation can easily occur.
- Injuries to the Skin
Many people find that their skin is never quite the same after a skin injury or an acne-ridden complexion. When the skin attempts to heal itself, it is not uncommon for the new skin to be darker in color. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Treating Your Dark Spots
If you are concerned about your age spots or notice a new patch of dark skin, let your dermatologist examine it. Skin cancers can also result in dark patches of skin. Regardless of whether your hyperpigmentation is a cosmetic or health concern, you have treatment options available. Olansky Dermatology in Atlanta offers a variety of solutions to get rid of unsightly skin discoloration using creams, lasers and other advanced treatments in modern dermatology. Call today to book your skin care consult.