Hyperpigmentation is a common condition in which patches of skin become discolored around the normal surrounding skin. Pigmentation problems in the skin can include dark spots from sun damage, melasma, birthmarks, and hyper or hypopigmentation. Unwanted pigmentation in the skin can cause a mottled, uneven skin tone that can detract from our natural beauty.
What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation occurs when areas of the skin become discolored or darker than the surrounding skin due to an excess of melanin. If your body produces too much melanin, it will cause dark spots on the skin, whereas if too little is produced, you will develop colorless patches of skin. Sun damage is one of the main causes of dark spots on the skin, as UV rays affect melanin-producing cells when the skin is not properly protected.
Pigmentation problems can be present from birth, as in the case of birthmarks and freckles, or they can develop later in life, often as a result of sun exposure. Melasma often occurs after pregnancy and is often called the “pregnancy mask”.
Types of Hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation can appear as a small, localized spot or cover larger areas, depending on the cause and type. Characterized by the darkening of certain areas of the skin, hyperpigmentation can have a significant impact on people’s self-esteem. Fortunately, with advancements in dermatological therapies and skincare, hyperpigmentation treatment is more accessible than ever before. Types of hyperpigmentation include:
- Melasma: Often referred to as the “pregnancy mask,” melasma is a common type of hyperpigmentation characterized by brown or gray-brown patches on the face, particularly the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. Melasma is often triggered by hormonal changes, such as those during pregnancy or with the use of birth control pills, and is exacerbated by sun exposure.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): PIH occurs after an inflammatory skin condition (such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis) heals. It leaves behind dark spots or patches at the site of the previous inflammation. PIH is more common in individuals with darker skin tones.
- Sunspots (Solar Lentigines): Sunspots are dark spots that appear on sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as the face, hands, and shoulders. Prolonged sun exposure over the years is the primary cause of these spots, which are often seen as a sign of premature skin aging.
Treatments for Hyperpigmentation
There are a variety of safe and effective treatment options available for treating pigmentation . Which treatment is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the type and extent of pigmentation problem you are suffering from, your lifestyle, and your desired results. An in-person consultation is necessary for a full skin evaluation and subsequent recommendation for a customized treatment plan. .
Some of the treatments offered at Ava MD include:
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Chemical peels
Hyperpigmentation can be challenging to live with and to treat. However, consulting with a board-certified dermatologist is crucial to developing a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and skin type. With the right approach and a commitment to skincare, you can enjoy clearer, more beautiful skin.
If you are worried about a new mole or want to reduce the appearance of sun damage or birthmarks, contact Ava MD for an in-person evaluation to develop a custom treatment plan to get your skin looking youthful and bright again.. To learn more about treatments for pigmentation and to schedule your consultation today, call us at 310-843-9915 (Beverly Hills) or 310-828-2282 (Santa Monica)!