What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Dark spots on the skin can be very annoying and unsightly. This condition is called hyperpigmentation and it happens when your skin produces more melanin than usual due to certain issues. Here are four of the biggest causes of hyperpigmentation:

  • Sun Exposure – More often than not, this can be the main culprit of hyperpigmentation. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can produce dark patches, age spots, and blemishes on the skin. The first line of defense against sun exposure if avoidance (if at all possible), and sun protection (sunscreen and proper clothing).
  • Medication – Medications for chemotherapy, nonsteroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs have been known to produce hyperpigmentation of the skin. Depending on how the medication is used, the hyperpigmentation can be generalized and be all over the body, or could be in patches. Dosage can be adjusted or different types of medication can be explored instead if the hyperpigmentation becomes too much of an issue.
  • Inflammation – There is a condition called Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation that happens when there’s been inflammation or injury caused to the skin. Insect bites, psoriasis, eczema, and acne can cause this condition. When the skin becomes injured, its melanin production goes into overdrive in the affected areas, causing dark spots. Hydroquinone or retinoids can help speed up the fading of these spots.
  • Changes in Hormones – This happens especially in women during pregnancy, menopause, or when they start taking birth control pills. The change in the levels of hormones can trigger hyperpigmentation.  Just like with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, the best treatment for this is using retinoids and hydroquinone to reduce the appearance of the dark patches.