What is Hyperpigmentation and How to Prevent it from Happening

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is characterized by darkened patches of the skin on different areas of the body and although it is known to affect all skin types, certain studies claim that people with darker skin tones are more prone to getting this condition.

Because of this, it’s said that people with Asian, Mediterranean and African descent are more affected by this disorder than other individuals.

Even though the condition is known to be fairly non-invasive and without any drastic side effects, it can be quite an unpleasant occurrence and sight.

In this article, we’re going to focus on what hyperpigmentation actually is, what are the main causes of it and in what ways it can be prevented and cured.

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation falls into a category of pigmentary disorders. These disorders are known to include hyperpigmentary and hypopigmentary disorders, of which the first is characterized by darkening of the skin, while the latter is defined by decreases in the normal skin tone.

In the case of hyperpigmentation, the darkening of the skin occurs when there are excess deposits of melanin in your skin.

Melanin is the pigment responsible for the normal skin colour in people and once a person acquires too much of it, it results in hyperpigmentation.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

There are various causes of hyperpigmentation, but the most common ones are certainly acne, ageing, sun damage, eczema and sometimes even pregnancy.

Depending on the origin of the discolorations, there are three main types of hyperpigmentation known to us.

PIH or Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is a natural response to any inflammatory occurrence of the skin, regardless of the fact whether the inflammation was caused by acne lesions, physical injuries or even chemical, mechanical or other types of stress.

The second type of hyperpigmentation is melasma which is a product of hormonal fluctuations and commonly occurs during pregnancy.

The last type (and the most common one) is UV damage or over-exposure to the sun. UV light is known to stimulate the production of melanin, which is also why people who live in regions with too much sun are more prone to getting this disorder.

Treatment

Although practically harmless, this skin condition can be quite bothersome and if you find yourself suffering from any type of pigmentation disorder, it’s good to know that there are available treatments for this condition.

Skin products which contain retinoids and corticosteroids, as well as chemical peels and microdermabrasion are known to be quite effective against lighter cases of hyperpigmentation, while the most commonly used form of treatment is certainly laser treatments.

The only disadvantage of the laser procedure is that it’s quite effective in Caucasian skin, but can cause PIH on darker skin tones. Just make sure you do a good research before you book a salon appointment.

Prevention

Given the fact that there are various ways to fall ill from this condition, quite logically, there exist various ways to protect yourself from hyperpigmentation as well.

Keeping in mind that the most common reason for this disorder is, in fact, too much sun exposure, it would be best to limit the time spent directly in the sun and apply sunscreen as a protective measure from UV light.

Other than this, regular skincare, which includes weekly exfoliation and daily moisturizing, can greatly help keep your skin healthy and free from any skin discoloration.

Lastly, it’s good to keep in mind that certain medications, including birth control pills are known to increase the production of melanin in the body, so it’s wise to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any type of therapy.

While there are many known pigmentary disorders, hyperpigmentation falls into a category of the most common ones.

Although this condition can’t severely damage a person’s health, doctors advise patients to observe this discoloration quite seriously and take appropriate measures in order to treat it or even prevent it from occurring in the first place.

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