What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Have you noticed dark patches on your skin that weren’t there before? This could be a condition known as hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation isn’t cancerous, painful, or a medical concern. However, you must always have changes to your skin assessed by a dermatologist.

In this article,  we'll explore what hyperpigmentation is, the causes of hyperpigmentation, and how to prevent dark spots. With the right information and care, you can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and maintain your beautiful, even-toned complexion!

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Also known as melasma, sunspots, and liver spots, hyperpigmentation is caused by the overproduction of melanin that leads to dark patches. Melanin is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies that produces our hair color, eye color, and skin color. When our bodies overproduce melanin, dark spots can form. Some spots are as small as freckles and are only a few shades darker than our natural skin color, while others are larger than a pencil eraser—and several shades darker than our natural skin color.

Hyperpigmentation can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common on the:

  • Face
  • Forehead
  • Cheeks
  • Around the mouth

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

While not harmful, hyperpigmentation can cause you to feel self-conscious about your appearance. Only 10% of those diagnosed are men, and 90% of those diagnosed are women.
However, 65% of men and women with dark skin will experience hyperpigmentation.

The most common cause is fluctuating hormones, which is why many women’s first dark spots occur while they are pregnant, in perimenopause, and in menopause.

  • Puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Birth control use
  • Hormone therapy
  • Sun damage
  • Skin damage
  • Hereditary predisposition
  • Prescription side effect
  • Symptom of medical condition

How Is Hyperpigmentation Diagnosed?

There are a variety of skin conditions and health conditions that can lead to discoloration and dark spots. As soon as you notice changes to your skin, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.

Unlike your general care physician, dermatologists have the expertise and equipment to analyze your skin. They will also advise you on a plan to treat and minimize your dark spots. Diagnosing hyperpigmentation is non-invasive and can be completed the same day—typically within seconds.

How To Take A Proactive Approach To Dark Spots?

The best approach is always a proactive approach. Or a reactive approach designed to slow the production of new dark spots.

Sunscreen—not only should you apply a broad-spectrum UV sunscreen every morning year-round, but it should be reapplied every 4 hours. If you work outside or will be swimming or sweating, use a waterproof product designed for your face.

Limit Sun Exposure—enjoy the sun, but wear a hat! Also, invest in clothing with UV protection, sit in the shade when you can, wear sunglasses, and don’t forget to wear lip balm with UV protection.

Don’t Skip Your Annual Physical—ensure you have personalized bloodwork completed each year, including testing your hormone levels. For some women, birth control and prescription hormones minimizes hyperpigmentation, for others, it increases their dark spots. So, you must take a personalized approach.

Use Quality Skincare Products—harsh skincare and products, beauty treatments, and skincare devices can damage your skin. This can cause dark spots and increase the likelihood of dark spots.

How To Treat Hyperpigmentation?

There are a variety of treatment options to explore, so ask your dermatologist what is best for your skin. We have a blog that details some of your options and how Methode Brigette Kettner’s products can help!

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