Hyperpigmentation: What Causes the Skin to Darken? | Westside Face

The highest priority of Westside Face is protecting the health of our patients, staff, and community. As an essential business dedicated to serving the community, we will remain open with modified hours. Click here to read more.

Hyperpigmentation: What Causes the Skin to Darken?2021-12-15T07:39:05+00:00

Why Visit an ENT Doctor for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation: What Causes the Skin to Darken?Hyperpigmentation is a term that defines uneven skin pigmentation. It causes some skin patches on various body parts, such as the face and hands, to become darker than the normal skin tone.

This harmless skin condition can cover large areas, small patches, or the entire body. It occurs due to high melanin production. Hyperpigmentation can affect any person, regardless of their race.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

The American Academy of Dermatology indicates that hyperpigmentation exists in different forms. The common ones are:

People with this condition have tan or brown spots on various parts of their bodies, especially their faces and stomach. It is possible to confuse these patches with age spots. Melasma is common among women, and sometimes people call it the “mask of pregnancy.” It occurs due to hormonal changes or taking contraceptives.

Sunspots are also referred to as solar lentigines or liver spots. They when a person excessively exposes themselves to the sun. Therefore, they affect the face, hands, and other open areas.

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
The skin tends to develop brown or dark patches after an injury or inflammation.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

The causes of hyperpigmentation often depend on the type. However, the common ones include:

Sun Exposure
When you display your body directly to the sun, it produces more melanin to guard the skin from the effects of the UV rays. The melanin further causes the dark patches.

Melasma sometimes runs in families. Some people are born with darker patches and freckles than others. This factor is common among individuals from Latin, Indian, or Mediterranean backgrounds.

Skin Inflammation
Inflammation due to injury, acne, or eczema causes the affected areas to darken. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is more common among individuals with darker skin.

Reaction to Drugs
Some medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants and antimalarial drugs, can cause some skin areas to turn grey. Healthcare experts indicate that some topical treatments can also cause this condition.

Medical Conditions
Increased pigmentation is not harmful, but it is essential to seek treatment because it could be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. For example, you could have Addison’s disease or hemochromatosis. These diseases cause more pigmentation on the lips, knees, toes, and knuckles.


You should consult a qualified doctor or dermatologist if you notice unusual patches on your skin. These professionals will identify the type of hyperpigmentation and the cause by examining the skin. The diagnosis will then help the dermatologist create a treatment plan for you.

Hyperpigmentation Treatment Options

Hyperpigmentation is treatable. The appropriate treatment option depends on the cause of the condition. For example, hormone replacement therapy can balance women’s skin tone if hormonal imbalance is the cause. In most cases, women’s skin regains normal pigmentation after the pregnancy. Other treatment options include:

Bleaching Creams
Over-the-counter treatments like lightening creams contain ingredients, such as hydroquinone and vitamin B-3 that help to reduce pigmentation. You can apply them once or twice a day to achieve the best results over time.

Chemical Peel
A chemical peel uses concentrated acids to remove the epidermis and reduce the appearance of dark patches. It is strong and can lead to severe side effects if misused. Therefore, it is advisable to get these products from a professional dermatologist.

Laser Scar Reduction
Technological advancement has facilitated the invention of multiple laser treatments for hyperpigmentation. In laser treatment, the facial plastic surgeon uses targeted beams of light to the outer skin surface on the affected area and stimulates the production of skin cells to replace the damaged ones.

The advantage of this treatment option is that it is safe and highly effective. For example, it removes the pigment on the affected area without scarring. It is also convenient since the healing occurs between three and ten days.

Skin Resurfacing (Laser Peel)
Skin resurfacing solves hyperpigmentation by removing the outer skin layer or the damaged skin cells. It reduces the visibility of the dark or grey spots. The plastic surgeon can use ablative or non-ablative lasers. The former is intense and involves removing skin layers, while the latter promotes collagen growth in the dermis.

There’s Never a Wrong Time to Book an Appointment

One can get spots or skin patches that are darker than the normal skin due to medical conditions, inflammation, or exposure to the sun. You do not have to worry about this condition because it is treatable. Besides cosmetic procedures, reconstructive surgery can treat hyperpigmentation. It is also vital to protect your skin from the sun and minimise future damage by wearing sunscreen.

Call| Text