Hyperpigmentation occurs when melanin is overproduced and accumulated in some skin areas resulting in unaesthetic dark spots of several shape and size.
Sun exposure is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation, as it’s sunlight that triggers the production of melanin in the first place. For this reason, the hyperpigmentation appears mainly on body parts that are frequently exposed, such as the face, hands and arms. However, there are other triggering factors such as hormonal influences, genetic predisposition, age, and inflammatory processes.
Limiting sun exposure time, wearing protective clothing and using a large spectrum sunscreen with a high sun protection factor, can help to reduce the risk of developing hyperchromic spots and avoid worsening of existing ones.
Hormonal influences are instead the main responsible for a specific kind of hyperpigmentation known as melasma, chloasma or ‘pregnancy mask’, as it often occurs in pregnant women. It is caused by female hormones, such as estrogens and progesterone, and causes dark areas of irregular shape on the face and arms, which can be also quite extensive. Melasma manifests itself more frequently in people with dark complexion.
Hyperpigmentation is also symptomatic of certain illnesses such as some autoimmune and gastrointestinal diseases, metabolic disorders and vitamin deficiencies. Sometimes it is manifested as a side effect of some pharmacological treatments such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, antimalarial and anti-epileptic drugs.
Finally, there is also the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that occurs when a skin injury or inflammation heals and leaves the skin darker.
Dermatological treatments based on chemical peels or laser therapies can be used to reduce hyperpigmentation. These are very effective treatments that are, however, quite expensive and relatively invasive as they can irritate and inflame the skin.
Alternatively, you can use countless commercially available products that claim to visibly reduce the hyperpigmentation. Most treatments require constant application and are based on active ingredients that can reduce melanin production and promote cell renewal, in order to limit the appearance of dark spots.
Ispe offers among its services also the evaluation of the whitening efficacy of treatments aimed at reducing hyperpigmentation and uniformizing the incarnate.