What is a Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a term commonly used to describe various types of skin discolorations – which are most often a product of the overproduction of melanin along the skin’s surface.
Melanin is the name given to the pigment, which gives our skin its normal color – those with more melanin will have darker skin tones, and those with less melanin will have more fare skin tones. Due to a variety of factors, at times, individuals can experience an overproduction of melanin in specific areas, creating dark spots or discolorations, that are very different from the skin in the surrounding areas. Depending on the specific cause and the type of dark spots, there are a variety of treatment methods. For instance, for a common issue like sun spot removal, caused by sun damage, we can use methods like lasers or topicals.

Common Types of Hyperpigmentation

The interesting thing is that while they are definitely more common in those with farer skin, discolorations can occur in all skin types and tones. The most common types of discolorations include:

Sun & Age Spots

Sometimes referred to as sun spots, age spots, liver spots or solar lentigines; sun spot removal has become one of the most popular methods of treatment around. Generally, most of those patients in need of sun spot treatment are older adults – as they are a product of years of sun exposure. Generally, age spots are characterized by dark, brownish or even tan spotty patches of discolorations – age spot removal is most common in areas like the face, hands, neck and more, as these areas are often left exposed to the sun over long periods of time. Considering that they are a product of sun exposure, the most common patients in need of sun spot removal are those with lighter skin tones.


Sometimes known as chloasma, melasma is characterized mainly by larger patches of darkened, discolored skin. Melasma can appear in different areas such as the face (mainly the forehead) and even the stomach. This condition is most common in women, who are experiencing hormonal fluctuations – often due to pregnant or taking birth control pills. Unlike age spot treatment, those with darker skin have much higher rates of melasma.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

This form of hyperpigmentation appears most often as spotty patches of dark, brown skin as a result of an inflammatory skin condition, such as acne or eczema. Generally, if a patient suffers from an inflammatory skin issue, no matter of age, race or gender, they are highly susceptible to these discolorations and like those in need of age spot treatment, they often appear along the face and neck.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

No matter what type of hyperpigmentation you might suffering, from those in need of sun spot treatment, to those with skin conditions like lupus or even acne, generally there are only 5 main causes of skin discolorations. They include:

Overexposure to the Sun & UV Rays

The most common reason amongst those individuals in need of age spot removal. The body produces excess melanin as a defense mechanism against the sun’s harmful UV rays – especially common in those who are of a lighter skin tone, as they lack the protection of melanin.


Inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, lupus, eczema, and even some general cuts or scrapes, will often cause the body to create dark spots as a side effect – very common in the healing phase.
Hormones – During many periods, both men and women will experience a number of hormone fluctuations. Common in women, during pregnancy of menopause, the skin tends to develop dark brown or reddish spots of melasma.


Whether it be a result of medications like antidepressants, antibiotics or certain topical creams, the body can experience adverse reactions, sometimes allergic, which will cause the skin to turn dark brown, black or even grey – in patches and spots.

Medical Conditions

There are a number of different medical conditions that are known to cause dark spots on the body and face, including a variety of autoimmune conditions and blood disorders. These will often require further diagnostic testing measures.

Treatment Methods

Depending on the specific type of hyperpigmentation you might be suffering from, there are a variety of different treatment methods, that might work for you. Some of the most popular treatment options include:

Laser Therapy

Helps remove the outer layer of skin and stimulate the production of new fresh skin cells. Works for all types of discolorations including age spot removal.

IPL Laser Therapy

Intense pulsed light therapy, uses an intense beam of light energy to trigger the body’s natural healing mechanisms from within the skin. Also stimulates the production of fresh collagen to aid in cellular turnover and reduce the presence of discolorations.

Chemical Peels

Help to resurface the skin’s outer layer and reduce the presence of dark spots and discolorations.

Topical Creams

Depending on the specifics of your hyperpigmentation, there are certain types of topical creams or ointments that can help brighten the skin, heal sun damage, provide sun spot treatment, and reduce inflammation issues. Some of these include – corticosteroids, hydroquinone, retinoids, and more.

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