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  • Writer's pictureTower Hill Clinic

Learn about: Melasma and hyper-pigmentation - Pigment Control

Updated: Mar 26

Hyperpigmentation is characterized by a darkening of an area of skin caused by the overproduction of pigment, or melanin. It is relatively common and harmless, but for cosmetic reasons, it is a nuisance to those who have it.

For instance, sun exposure stimulates the production of melanin. Although it can affect anyone, this condition is more prevalent among certain ethnicities such as Asian, Mediterranean, African or Latin.

Hyperpigmentation can affect any part of the body including the face, hands and neck. The following are examples of hyperpigmentation: lentigo/lentigenes, pregnancy-induced melasma (‘pregnancy mask,’ melasma is caused by hormonal changes due to pregnancy and is characterized by splotchy, pigmented areas usually on the face) stain, nevus, a tan, freckles, solar lentigos (i.e. sun spots, age spots).

What are the causes of hyperpigmentation?

There are many causes of hyperpigmentation, including overexposure to the sun, sun damage, heredity, picking at the skin, hormonal changes, certain medications such as antibiotics, hormone treatments; skin injuries such as acne vulgaris and skin inflammation. Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH occurs after a pimple, burn, cut, abrasion or a minor injury, leaving a mark on the surface of the skin (epidermis) that is darker than the rest of the skin.

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