Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of the skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of Melanin the brown pigment that produces our normal skin colour forms deposits in the skin. Hyperpigmentation can affect the skin color of people of every race. However Asian, African and Mediterranean skins are more likely to develop Hyperpigmentation.
Age or “liver” spots are a common form of Hyperpigmentation. They occur as a result of sun damage and are referred to by doctors as “solar lentigines". These small dark patches are usually found on the hands, face, decollete or other areas frequently exposed to the sun.
Melasma or Chloasma spots are larger areas of darkened skin that appear most often as a result of hormonal changes. Pregnancy can trigger an over production of Melanin that shows itself on the face and abdomen.
Women who take birth control pills or menapause hormones may also experience hyperpigmentation.
Skin diseases such as acne may leave dark spots after the condition has cleared. Some surgeries or injuries to the skin may also leave darkened areas.
Smokers melanosis is a discoloration around the mouth area.
All these “darkened areas” become more intense when exposed to the sun.