Hyperpigmentation can be caused by sun damage, inflammation or other skin injuries including those related to acne. People with darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation, especially with excess sun exposure.
Many forms of hyperpigmentation are caused by an excess production of melanin affecting areas such as the face and the back of the hands. Melanin is produced by melanocytes at the lower layer of our epidermis. Melanin is a class of pigment responsible for producing colour in the body in places such as the eyes, skin and hair. As the body ages, melanocyte distribution becomes less diffuse and its regulation less controlled by the body. UV light stimulates melanocyte activity and where concentration of the cells is greater, hyperpigmentation occurs. Another form of hyperpigmentation is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). These are dark and discoloured spots that appear on the skin following acne lesions healing and can even occur post-treatment i.e. laser.
The main causes of hyperpigmentation within a skin are;
- Sunlight – UVA and UVB radiation resulting in DNA damage to the melanocyte and increased tyrosinaise activity.
- Hormones – Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, HRT and other medical conditions.