What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a common condition that makes some areas of the skin darker than others.

This condition is the result of your body producing an excess (clumping) of melanin, the natural pigment that gives our skin its color, causing that area of skin to appear darker. Usually appearing as brown, black, gray, red or pink, these spots and patches may occur in just one area of the body or all over.

Signs and Symptoms of Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is visible in the form of patches and varies in shape and size. These patches can develop on any area of the body and differ depending on the type of hyperpigmentation.

The most common symptoms of hyperpigmentation include the following:

  • Pigmentation patches
  • Discoloration of the skin post inflammation
  • Dark patches that are raised
  • Dark-colored sunspots on the skin


Causes of Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is common among adults, and there are a variety of causes, including:

  • Sun exposure
  • Hormonal changes
  • Reactions to medication and various medical conditions
  • Rashes
  • Blue light from screens and electronic devices

When hyperpigmentation first appears, it’s important to see a dermatologist for a definitive diagnosis as your symptoms may be being caused by other skin conditions.

Hyperpigmentation Treatments

Depending on the reasons for hyperpigmentation, our dermatologists may suggest lifestyle changes, like:

  • Avoiding sun damage by staying out of the sun, using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing when outdoors
  • Stopping any medications that may be causing your hyperpigmentation
  • Taking vitamins

Our dermatologists may also recommend prescriptions or over-the-counter topical therapy as well as other treatments, which may include:

Prescription Medications
Depending on the cause of your hyperpigmentation, some medications may be prescribed including Retinols.

Chemical Peels
Chemical peels can help over time if your hyperpigmentation is related to sun exposure.

Laser therapy and laser skin resurfacing
Intense-pulsed light treatment is used for treating melasma using a broad spectrum of light to generate heat to target and remove pigment. Research shows that this treatment can improve in the short term, but relapse often is seen within three months.