Skin color, or pigmentation, comes from specialized cells that make melanin. When these cells are damaged or unhealthy, melanin production is affected and can cause dermatological disorders. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation and want to get rid of brown or dark patches on your skin, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist at Greenbrae Dermatology to get help today.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation causes patches of your skin to become darker than the surrounding skin. The dark spots appear on the parts of your body most exposed to the sun, like your hands and face.
Darkened areas of skin due to scarring, birthmarks, solar or actinic keratoses, and skin cancers aren’t forms of hyperpigmentation.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Several factors cause the overproduction of melatonin that results in hyperpigmentation:
- Sun exposure
- Family history
What are the types of hyperpigmentation?
Your dark spots could be the result of one of several types of hyperpigmentation:
- Age Spots: Also called liver spots, these small, darkened patches of skin are pigment spots on your face, hands, and arms caused by sun exposure.
- Mask of Pregnancy: Hormones from pregnancy and birth control pills cause melasma or chloasma. Generally called “the mask of pregnancy,” this type of hyperpigmentation affects 90% of pregnant women and produces large, dark, and irregularly shaped areas on your face and arms.
- Post-Inflammatory: This type of hyperpigmentation occurs when a skin injury or trauma heals, and a flat area of discoloration remains. Most commonly caused by acne, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can also occur after cosmetic procedures, including dermabrasion, laser treatments, and chemical peels.
How is hyperpigmentation treated?
Our board-certified dermatologist tailors your treatment to your skin tone and the severity and extent of the pigmentation problem. Your care often includes one or a combination of the following therapies:
- Topical Products: For lighter skin tones, our dermatologist recommends starting your regime with retinol, an over-the-counter (OTC) form of vitamin A. For darker skin tones, OTC products with soy or niacinamide help brighten the skin.
- Laser therapy: For difficult-to-treat and resistant cases of hyperpigmentation, our dermatologist uses laser technology — alone or in combination with topical treatments.
Regardless of the type of treatment you receive, it’s essential to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher every day to prevent further darkening of your skin.
If hyperpigmentation has you seeing spots, call or make an appointment online today.