What is hyperpigmentation? And why does it occur?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when melanin is overproduced in certain spots on the skin.

Hyperpigmentation results in flat, darkened patches of skin that are light brown to black in colour, and can vary in size and shape. There are many types of hyperpigmentation .

Pigment spots such as age spots are caused by sun exposure. For this reason, they appear mainly on body parts that are frequently exposed, such as the face, hands and arms. They tend to be small, darkened patches of skin.

Melasma is often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”, as it affects 90% of pregnant women. It occurs as a result of hormonal influences such as pregnancy and birth control pills, and causes dark and irregularly shaped areas on the face or arms that can be quite large.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when a skin injury or trauma heals and leaves a flat area of discolouration behind. It’s common among acne sufferers.

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Main contributing factors

Sun exposure is one of the cause of hyperpigmentation, as it’s sunlight that triggers the production of melanin in the first place. Melanin acts as your skin’s natural sunscreen by protecting you from harmful UV rays, which is why people tan in the sun. But excessive sun exposure can disrupt this process, leading to hyperpigmentation.

Once dark spots have developed, sun exposure can also exacerbate dark spots by making freckles, age spots, melasma and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation spots even darker.

Hormonal influences are the main cause of a particular kind of hyperpigmentation known as melasma . It’s particularly common among women, as it’s thought to occur when the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone stimulate the overproduction of melanin when skin is exposed to the sun.

Photocontact dermatitis caused by henna dyes or tattooing can result in residual hyperpigmentation.

Pigmentation Reduction Procedures

Chemical peels involve applying a medical grade product on the skin to remove the surface layers . These products cause the damaged skin to eventually peel off, revealing new and evenly pigmented healthy skin beneath.

Laser therapies have much the same effect, but tend to be more precise, as the doctor has more control over the intensity of the treatment. It involves treating the affected areas with high-energy light. The mildest treatments work just on the skin’s epidermis (surface layer), while more intense treatments can penetrate the deepest layers of the skin.

De Tan treatments acts within cells responsible for skin pigmentation . It helps in decreasing colour production in areas where excess melanin is evident to achieve the removal of blemishes on the skin .

De Tan Treatment Properties

  • Works on all types of skin blemishes
  • Compatible with any skin phototype
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