Hyperpigmentation refers to patches of skin that becomes darker than the surrounding areas of skin. It occurs when the skin produces excess melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. It can affect people of all skin types. Hyperpigmentation is very common on skin of color, as darker skin tones already have a higher melanin content. Burns, bruises, acne, rashes, or other trauma to the skin can cause it to produce more melanin and lead to dark spots. Other than dark spots, hyperpigmentation doesn’t cause any symptoms. Hyperpigmentation can appear as brown, black, gray, red or pink spots or patches. The spots are sometimes called age spots, sun spots or liver spots. The spots can occur in just one area of the body or all over.
CASUES OF HYPERPIGMENTATION
1. Sun exposure: According to an article by Medical News Today medically reviewed by Bukky Aremu on the 30th of May, 2022, the body produces more melanin to protect the skin from prolonged exposure to the sun. This can cause dark spots or patches on the skin called age spots or sun spots. These spots are often called solar lentigines.
2. Skin inflammation: Areas of skin can darken after people have had inflammation of the skin. This can include acne, eczema, lupus, or an injury to the skin. People with darker skin are more likely to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
3. Melasma: Darker patches of skin can form when people experience hormonal changes. This type of hyperpigmentation is common during pregnancy.
4. Reactions to drug use: Certain medications, such as antimalarial drugs and tricyclic antidepressants, can cause hyperpigmentation. Also, medications such as oral contraceptives (birth control pills) and drugs that cause sensitivity to light. In these cases, patches of skin may turn gray. Chemicals in topical treatments can also sometimes cause hyperpigmentation.
Note: If you have spots on your skin with any other symptoms, talk to your primary care provider or a dermatologist (skin doctor).