Written by - Prakruti
Every one of us is aware of the term hyperpigmentation. Aren’t we?
You might wonder, what’s there to know about hyperpigmentation? Well, there is a lot behind the term.
Hyperpigmentation is a common and harmless condition in which patches of skin are darker than the surrounding skin. It occurs when some skin cells produce too much of a pigment called melanin. This may appear in various forms such as freckles, age spots, or larger areas of darkened skin.
There are different forms of hyperpigmentation:
- Melasma - Caused by hormonal changes, during pregnancy.
- Sunspots - Caused due to excessive sun exposure.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation - Caused by any injury.
Here’s everything you need to know -
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition
You might have dark patches on your face, elbows, armpits or possibly any other part of your body. Honestly, it feels weird to have it. Some might feel embarrassed about having dark skin patches, but you know what, it’s quite common and it's not just you. So, folks, there is no need to feel embarrassed about having dark patches on your skin.
Excessive sun exposure can be the culprit
So, what actually happens is, when you are exposed to the sun the UV rays actually trigger the melanocytes to produce more melanin. This acts as your natural barrier to protect you from the sun, causing a tan on your face and other exposed areas of your skin. But excessive exposure disrupts the normal process, and the overproduction of melanin gets triggered which later results in hyperpigmentation. So, you must never skip wearing sunscreen to prevent pigmentation and tanned skin.
Friction is a diehard supporter of hyperpigmentation!
Friction is often linked with hyperpigmentation. The high friction areas of the body that are often subjected to rubbing and chaffing, such as the neck, inner thighs, elbows or knees etc are often subjected to hyperpigmentation. Therefore, if you wear tight-fitting clothes on casual days, you should avoid them.
Additionally, if you pick the skin of acne-affected areas or areas that have been injured, you should avoid doing so to avoid blemishes and dark spots.
Hormonal imbalance can trigger hyperpigmentation.
Studies have shown that estrogen, a female sex hormone, is capable of accelerating melanin synthesis in the body, which in turn causes hyperpigmentation. Not just this, pregnancy, menopause, and using birth control pills can trigger melanocyte-stimulating hormones and cause pigmentation. Hormonal imbalance can result in a specific form of hyperpigmentation known as melasma or chloasma.
Hence, you can consider waiting for the condition to settle before you invest in severe treatments for hyperpigmentation. Also, keep in mind that hormones trigger pigmentation, so check for all the health issues before you opt for any treatment.
Genetics are responsible for hyperpigmentation.
125 genes are responsible for affecting skin pigmentation as they regulate melanin production. One of the most important things you need to know is that the number of melanocytes we have is predetermined by genetics. Hence, genetics play a major role in hyperpigmentation. Also, you must understand the difference between natural skin colour and pigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation treatment -
It is effective only when you treat your skin with care, identify the actual reason for hyperpigmentation, and then treat the problem accordingly. However, take into account the factors mentioned below -
A proper skin care regimen is your ‘skin’ saviour -
You must choose your skincare products very carefully. Know your skin type, understand the actual needs of your skin and treat it accordingly. If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin you must make sure it is hydrated and balanced.
Choose the products that soothe your skin. Look for products containing ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin C, and salicylic acid as they help reduce pigmentation. Also, cleanse and moisturize well.
Be consistent with your skincare regimen.
Skincare is a continuous and ongoing process. Be consistent with it. Use products that keep your skin balanced and do not change it every now and then. Stick to the suitable-for-your-skin-type product. Daily skincare helps you keep your skin healthy.
It takes time!
You definitely need to understand that no product is a miracle worker. It takes at least 3 months to see any noticeable difference. Consistency does the job.
Be proud of your skin!
1.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12304881/ (“The influence of hormones on melanogenesis”)
2.Napolitano A, Panzella L, Monfrecola G, d’Ischia M. Pheomelanin-induced oxidative stress: Bright and dark chemistry bridging red hair phenotype and melanoma. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014;27:721–733. doi:10.1111/pcmr.12262
3.Del Bino S, et al. Clinical and biological characterization of skin pigmentation diversity and its consequences on UV impact. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(9):2668. doi:10.3390/ijms19092668
4.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8613529 (“International Journal of Dermatology”)