Learn to avoid the causes of hyperpigmentation
Although hyperpigmentation does not cause any harm or risk, it can be troublesome. Today we will talk about the causes of hyperpigmentation and what you can do about it.
Hyperpigmentation is skin areas where the pigment, such as melanin, becomes more concentrated. This gives the area a darker tone and can appear in the form of birthmarks, freckles, liver spots, or other spots. What are the causes of hyperpigmentation? How can it be treated and prevented?
First of all, it is important to note that the skin gets it’s color thanks to natural pigments such as hemoglobin, melanin, and carotenoids. In particular, it is melanin that gives color to skin, eyes, and hair. It is formed in the melanosomes by the precursors, tyrosine, and tyrosinase.
The main function of this pigment is to protect the DNA from damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. However, when overstimulation occurs, it can lead to hyperpigmentation, which many find bothersome.
What are the causes of hyperpigmentation?
According to an article published in Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, exposure to the sun is one of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation. This stimulates the skin to develop melatonin, which has a protective effect against UV rays.
This is also why many people like to be out in the sun – it helps them get some color. However, prolonged exposure alters this process and causes skin damage. Eventually, this leads to hyperpigmentation. Below you will find some of the associated risk factors:
- Age spots: These occur as a result of aging, but also due to exposure to the sun.
- Inflammatory spots: These occur after the healing process of a skin injury, such as a burn, a cut, psoriasis, or eczema. More specifically, the area may be slightly elevated and darker.
- Hormones: Melasma or chloasma. Irregularly shaped dark spots appear when female sex hormones stimulate the production of melanin due to exposure to the sun.
- Sun exposure: This is the major reason for hyperpigmentation. Every stain on the skin – age spots, freckles, melasma, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – undergoes color changes due to exposure to the sun.
- Drugs: Hyperpigmentation can also be a side effect of some medications. Some examples include certain hormonal treatments, drugs in the form of chemotherapy, drugs for malaria, antibiotics, blood thinners, etc.
- Diseases: Hyperpigmentation can also be a sign of other diseases. Some examples are vitamin deficiency, autoimmune processes, gastrointestinal diseases, and metabolic disorders.
How to prevent hyperpigmentation
In general, there are several steps we can all take to reduce the risk of developing hyperpigmentation. However, it is important to note that you must use these measures daily as part of your routine.
- We recommend you to use sunscreen all year round. That is, in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. If possible and if necessary, use a sunscreen with a protection factor of 50 or higher.
- Limit exposure to the sun.
- Wear clothing that provides adequate protection from the sun.
Treatments for pigmentation
The treatment of hyperpigmentation is a challenge for healthcare. Although the treatments have evolved, it is still a difficult task to deal with the problem. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, topical treatments are ineffective for many patients. So what are the options?
- Chemical peeling: This minimizes hyperpigmentation by developing a new skin layer with a more homogeneous tone.
- Laser treatment: Here the effect is similar to that which involves acids in chemical peels, but the laser treatment can be used by dermatologists much more precisely. In short, the dermatologist causes damage to the most affected areas with the help of a high-energy laser. The more intensive the treatment, the more effective it reaches the deepest layers of the skin.
- Creams for topical use: The use of hydroquinone is very helpful in many cases, however, this substance is classified as carcinogenic and thus banned in the EU. Vitamin C is effective against blemishes and can be used with other active ingredients. Recently, it has become common to use substances such as koji acid, arbutin, retinoids, and azelaic acid.
The causes of hyperpigmentation – do not forget this
If new spots or irregularities occur in connection with hyperpigmentation, it is best to talk to a dermatologist. These are trained to be able to determine if the spots are normal or if they have a pathological origin. Besides, he or she will be able to recommend the best treatment, depending on each case.
It is important to note that hyperpigmentation treatments do not work overnight. They require time and patience. Also, remember to use basic, preventative habits, especially when it comes to sun exposure.