20 Different Factors that can Cause Hyperpigmentation of the Skin

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation of the skin is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin.

The two most common causes of hyperpigmentation are sun exposure and hormonal changes.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

There are many factors that can cause hyperpigmentation of the skin. These include:

8. Age and Sun Damage

The skin gets thinner as we age and this allows the hyperpigmentation to show through more easily. Additionally, the skin is less able to slough off dead skin cells, resulting in a buildup of melanin excess (hyperpigmentation).

It cannot be stressed enough that sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation in all skin types and races. The effects of sun exposure are cumulative, so even if you just got one sunburn in your life, it will cause hyperpigmentation.

Skin hyperpigmentation is a very common skin condition that affects people of all ages and races. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including normal hormonal changes, aging, sun exposure, and skin injuries. Many people are bothered by the appearance of dark spots on their skin and try to lighten them with skin creams and other treatments.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

There are several different types of hyperpigmentation and they can have different causes:

Age spots: Also called liver spots or senile lentigines, these brown spots usually appear on the face, back of the hands, shoulders, forearms and feet. They are caused by chronic sun exposure.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: This type of hyperpigmentation occurs when melanin becomes overproduced as a result of an injury to the skin, such as acne or cuts/scrapes/burns. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may also occur after acne infections (e.g., boils) or allergic reactions from skin products. This type of hyperpigmentation may take months or even years to fade completely.

Melasma/chloasma: This is a condition that appears as brown patches on the face (often on the cheeks

Hyperpigmentation is the condition in which there is an increase in melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color) in a localized area of skin. This excess melanin causes the area of skin to appear darker than the surrounding skin. Hyperpigmentation may affect the skin color of people of any race.

Melanin is produced by special cells called melanocytes, which are located in the bottom layer of your skin’s outermost surface (epidermis). When you have an injury or infection, these cells produce more melanin, causing the affected area to appear darker. Sometimes this darkening persists even after the injury has healed.

Common causes of hyperpigmentation include:

Acne and other inflammatory conditions of the skin: Acne, eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory conditions can cause dark spots where they occur. The cause may be inflammation itself or inflammation followed by darkening from sun exposure (see below).

Aging: Age spots are one form of hyperpigmentation that occurs with aging. They are caused by repeated sun exposure over time and are sometimes referred to as solar lentigines or liver spots. These spots typically appear on areas exposed to the sun such as the face, hands and arms.

Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of an area of skin caused by increased melanin. Melanin pigments give color to the skin, hair and iris of the eyes. Hyperpigmentation affects both genders and all races.

Most hyperpigmentation results from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning beds. Other causes include inflammation or trauma to the skin, such as acne vulgaris, eczema, psoriasis, burns, cuts or scrapes. Some diseases (e.g., Addison’s disease) and medications (e.g., tetracyclines) can also cause pigmentation abnormalities.

Some hyperpigmented areas may fade after a few months without treatment; however, others may be permanent unless treated early and aggressively.

Although hyperpigmentation is harmless and often fades over time, it can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. Here are some ways to help reduce the appearance of dark spots:

-Sun protection – Whenever possible, avoid overexposure to the sun as well as tanning beds and sun lamps. Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater every day, even if you plan to stay indoors most of the day.*

-Treatment options – If

Just as there are many different types of hyperpigmentation, there are many different causes for the condition. Each person is unique and what works for one person may not work for another so it’s important to figure out what your triggers are.

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the body produces too much melanin, the pigment that gives our skin and hair its color. Melanin production is stimulated by a hormone called melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland. MSH binds to receptors on melanocyte cells and stimulates them to produce melanin.

There are several things that can cause this process to go wrong, resulting in hyperpigmentation. Here’s a list of some of the most common causes:

1. Sun exposure – this causes an increase in MSH production, which can lead to an increase in melanin production and result in dark patches on the skin.

2. Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or birth control pills – these can cause an increase in MSH levels and result in dark patches on the skin.

3. Medications such as antibiotics, antimalarials, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants and chemotherapy drugs – all of these have been shown to increase MSH

Hyperpigmentation is the overproduction of melanin, a natural substance that gives color to your hair, eyes, and skin. Melanin production is stimulated by exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light, which makes hyperpigmentation particularly common in people with darker skin tones.

The condition can appear on any part of your body but commonly occurs on your face and hands. Hyperpigmentation may be triggered by:

Acne scars

Pregnancy or hormone therapy for breast cancer


Skin damage from sun exposure, including sunburns

Even though hyperpigmentation can be embarrassing and make you feel self-conscious about your appearance, it’s usually not a serious health concern. Still, many people are bothered by the way it looks and seek treatment to remove their dark spots.

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