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Hyperpigmentation: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Hyperpigmentation, a common yet challenging skin condition marked by patches of skin becoming darker than the surrounding area, affects nearly 40% of the US population to some degree. Though often not a cause for concern and widely prevalent worldwide, one can’t help but observe its uneven impact across individuals.

Whether it emerges as local dark spots, widespread areas, or patterns, hyperpigmentation can be a source of frustration for those who value a clear and even complexion.

At Square One Aesthetics, we specialize in treatments that address these concerns, offering solutions tailored to enhance your skin health and appearance.

Read on to learn about the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments for hyperpigmentation.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when excess melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin.

This can happen in:

  • Small patches
  • Cover large areas,
  • The entire body

Common forms of hyperpigmentation include age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, each stemming from different causes.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition where patches of skin become darker than the surrounding area.

This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin.

The most frequent causes include:

  • Sun Exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) light accelerates the production of melanin. This type of hyperpigmentation, commonly referred to as sunspots, affects areas of the skin most often exposed to the sun, including the face, arms, and legs.
  • Hormonal Influences. Hormonal changes can trigger an overproduction of melanin that causes hyperpigmentation. This condition, known as melasma or chloasma, is particularly common among women, especially during pregnancy or those using hormonal contraception or hormone replacement therapy.
  • Inflammation. Various forms of skin injury or irritation (like acne, eczema, or lupus) can cause an increase in pigment production as part of the body’s response to inflammation. This condition is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Skin Irritation. Certain cosmetics or skin care treatments that irritate the skin can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as the skin heals.
  • Medical Conditions. Certain diseases such as Addison’s disease can increase melanin production. Likewise, some medications, including chemotherapy drugs, can cause hyperpigmentation as a side effect.

Symptoms of Hyperpigmentation

The symptoms of hyperpigmentation are characterized by patches of skin that appear darker than the surrounding areas, which is the primary indicator of this condition.

These are some specific aspects related to its symptoms:

  • Color and Appearance. The darkened areas of the skin can range in color from light brown to black and can affect any area of the body, including the face, neck, hands, and legs.
  • Texture. While the affected areas may sometimes feel the same as the normal skin, they can occasionally feel rough or slightly raised due to the underlying cause, such as a previous inflammation or injury.
  • Spread and Intensity. Depending on the cause, these patches might develop suddenly or gradually and can vary in size and shape. Sunspots typically form in small patches where the skin has been directly exposed to sunlight, while melasma might appear as larger patches of darkening skin on the face.
  • Uniformity. Hyperpigmentation typically does not cause any pain, itching, or irritation, though it may sometimes be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the underlying condition, such as inflammation or irritation in cases related to acne or eczema.

Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

At Square One Aesthetics, we offer a variety of treatments tailored to combat hyperpigmentation effectively:

  • Topical Treatments. These include skin-lightening creams that contain ingredients like hydroquinone, licorice extract, kojic acid, vitamin C, and retinoids, which help reduce melanin production. We also have treatments that offer sun protection.
  • Chemical Peels. By applying a solution to the skin, it causes the top layers to peel off, revealing lighter skin underneath. Peels can be particularly effective for treating hyperpigmentation.
  • Laser Therapy. Procedures like laser skin resurfacing remove layers of skin, which can reduce or eliminate surface-level pigmented cells.
  • Microdermabrasion. This is a less invasive treatment where a special applicator with an abrasive surface is used to sand away the outer layer of the skin to rejuvenate it.

Melasma is highly treatable but can present challenges in certain cases. At Square One Aesthetics, don’t immediately resort to laser treatments. Surprisingly, many cases can be effectively managed with prescription-strength medical-grade skincare. While it may be more expensive, establishing the right skincare regimen often yields better long-term effectiveness.

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At Square One Aesthetics & Wellness in Tallahassee, FL, our expert team understands the complexities of skin pigmentation.

We utilize state-of-the-art technologies and tailor each treatment plan to suit your specific skin tone and type, ensuring you receive the most effective and safe treatment. Our holistic approach not only addresses the aesthetic aspects but also focuses on the underlying causes of hyperpigmentation, providing long-lasting solutions to our clients.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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