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Pigmentation Guide

By Medical News Today
Pigmentation Guide picture

Hyperpigmentation is the name that healthcare professionals give to patches of skin that become darker than surrounding areas of skin.

Types of hyperpigmentation include age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is simply an excess of pigmentation in the skin. This happens when there’s an overproduction of melanin, or natural pigment, in the skin. Hyperpigmentation manifests as darker, uneven spots or patches of colour on different areas of the skin.

This undesirable condition is often caused by sun exposure and sun damage, injuries, acne, hormonal imbalances and skin inflammation

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin produces more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour. This can make spots or patches of skin appear darker than surrounding areas.

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition. It affects people of all skin types.

Some forms of hyperpigmentation, including melasma and sun spots, are more likely to affect areas of skin that face sun exposure, including the face, arms, and legs.

Other types of hyperpigmentation form after an injury or skin inflammation, such as cuts, burns, acne, or lupus. These can occur anywhere on the body.

Having extra pigment in some areas of the skin is usually harmless but can sometimes indicate another medical condition.

How to get rid of hyperpigmentation

Although hyperpigmentation is harmless, some people wish to get rid of it. There are skin brightening and lightening products that help with this.

To prevent hyperpigmentation, or to stop it from becoming more prominent:

  • Avoid exposure to the sun. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the skin and stop hyperpigmentation from becoming darker.
  • Avoid picking at the skin. To prevent hyperpigmentation from forming after an injury, avoid picking at spots, scabs, and acne.

People can try the following treatments to lighten dark patches of skin and remove hyperpigmentation:

Topical creams and supplements

Many people use topical and oral treatments to treat hyperpigmentation. Topical/oral treatments will include ingredients that lighten the skin, such as:

  • Glutathione
  • Kojic acid
  • Sepiwhite
  • Vitamin C
  • Alpha Arbutin
  • Niacinamide
  • Mulberry extract
  • Licorice extract


Causes of hyperpigmentation

The cause of hyperpigmentation depends on the type. The most common causes of hyperpigmentation are:


Sun exposure

The body produces more melanin to protect the skin from prolonged exposure to the sun. This can cause dark spots or patches on the skin called age spots or sun spots.

Skin inflammation

Areas of skin can darken after people have had inflammation of the skin. This can include acne, eczema, lupus, or an injury to the skin. People with darker skin are more likely to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.


Darker patches of skin can form when people experience hormonal changes. This type of hyperpigmentation is common during pregnancy.


Dark spots

Dark spots are similar to hyperpigmentation, appearing as spots darker in colour than surrounding skin. These spots are referred to as liver spots, age spots or freckles, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Similar to hyperpigmentation, dark spots are caused by sun damage and sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations, skin inflammation, healing wounds and various medical conditions.


Acne scars

Acne scars are essentially left-over acne blemishes that penetrate the skin tissue. These scars, often appearing as concave craters, can be hyperpigmented or evenly pigmented and less noticeable.

Acne scars can be caused by untreated acne, damage to the skin tissue by scratching or popping pimples, and excessive oil production.




step 1:Lightening soap/cleanser twice daily

step 2: Lightening scrub twice or thrice a week

step 3: Lightening mask twice a week

step 4: Lightening toner twice daily

step 5: Lightening serum twice daily

step 6: Lightening face cream (day and night)

step 7: SPF for the day and lightening oil at night (do not use oil if prone to acne/breakouts)



step 1:Lightening soap/cleanser twice daily

step 2: Lightening scrub twice or thrice a week

step 3: Lightening body cream AND oil (day and night)

step 4: SPF for the day


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