What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Healthcare experts call regions of skin that turn darker than surrounding parts of skin hyperpigmentation. Melasma, age spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are all examples of hyperpigmentation. Each one has a unique cause and a variety of treatments and solutions available, including creams and cosmetic treatments.

Continue reading to have a deeper understanding of this condition.

What Is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin generates more melanin, the pigment, which gives the skin its color. This can cause spots or regions of skin to seem darker than the rest of the body.

This skin disorder can affect a lot of people with all sorts of skin.

Sunspots and melasma, for example, are more prone to appear on parts of the skin exposed to the sun, like the legs, arms, and face. Hyperpigmentation can also occur due to skin inflammation or injuries, such as cuts, acne, burns, or lupus. These can appear on any body part.

Extra pigment in some skin parts is normally innocuous, although it might occasionally suggest a medical problem.

Types and Symptoms

The most prevalent types of hyperpigmentation and associated symptoms are as follows:

Age Spots

Solar lentigines, or liver spots, are another name for them. These tan, brown, or black blotches occur on the skin due to excessive sun exposure.

They typically appear on the hands and face and other sun-exposed body parts. Age spots are most common in older people or after prolonged sun exposure.


Melasma, commonly known as chloasma or “the mask of pregnancy,” is a darkening of the skin in big regions. They are most commonly found on the stomach, forehead, and face. Melasma is more common in women, those on birth control pills or pregnant, and those with darker skin.

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

After an inflammatory skin problem like eczema or acne, these darker patches or spots form, most commonly form on the neck or face, and they can afflict anyone who has had a skin injury or irritation.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

A variety of factors can cause hyperpigmentation, depending on the type. The following are the most common causes of hyperpigmentation:

Skin Inflammation

A patient’s skin can darken in some areas after a skin inflammation. Acne, lupus, a skin injury, or eczema are examples of this. Additionally, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is more common in people with darker skin.

Exposure to the Sun

The body creates more melanin to protect the skin from excessive sun exposure. Sunspots or age spots are patches or dark spots on the skin caused by this.

Drug-Related Reactions

Hyperpigmentation can be caused by some medications, like tricyclic antidepressants and antimalarials. Patches of skin could turn gray in some circumstances.

Chemicals can also cause hyperpigmentation in topical treatments.


When people’s hormones alter, darker patches of skin can appear. This sort of hyperpigmentation is quite frequent during pregnancy.

Medical Problems

Hemochromatosis and Addison’s illness are two more significant causes of hyperpigmentation.

Hemochromatosis, a genetic condition where the body contains excessive iron, can occur, making the skin look tanned or darker.

If you detect any of the following hemochromatosis symptoms, you should see your doctor:

  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • stomachache
  • weight loss

Addison’s disease affects the adrenal glands. Hyperpigmentation can occur in a variety of places of the body, including:

  • lips
  • creases in the skin
  • toes
  • knees and elbows
  • the interior of the cheek
  • knuckles

Other Addison’s disease symptoms include:

  • fatigue and weak muscles
  • weight loss
  • nausea
  • stomachache
  • dizziness
  • diarrhea and vomiting

You must see your doctor if you spot any of these symptoms.

Hyperpigmentation: How to Get Rid of It

Even though hyperpigmentation is completely harmless, some people seek to be free of it. People might experiment with a variety of therapy options and home cures.

To avoid hyperpigmentation or to keep it from getting worse:

  • Avoid sun exposure. To protect your skin and prevent hyperpigmentation from becoming darker, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Stop picking at the skin. Avoid picking at scabs, patches, and acne after an accident to prevent hyperpigmentation.

People can consider the following treatments to lighten dark spots of skin and erase hyperpigmentation:

Topical Creams

Topical therapies are commonly used to treat hyperpigmentation. Ingredients, which lighten the skin will be used in topical treatments, such as:

  • azelaic acid
  • vitamin C
  • corticosteroids
  • hydroquinone
  • retinoids, like tretinoin
  • kojic acid

Cosmetic Procedures

Certain cosmetic procedures can also brighten patches of skin to make hyperpigmentation less noticeable.

You can treat hyperpigmentation with a variety of cosmetic procedures, including:

  • chemical peels
  • laser therapy
  • microdermabrasion
  • intense pulsed light

People considering one of these treatments should speak with a dermatologist or skin care specialist about the procedure and its adverse effects.

Hyperpigmentation Home Treatments

Natural therapies might potentially be able to help lighten hyperpigmented spots. However, no large-scale human trials have been conducted to confirm the efficacy of any of these treatments.

If you want to test a new natural remedy or treatment, you should always test it on a tiny patch of skin first and cease using it if the skin becomes irritated.

According to a 2018 review research, the following natural remedies may be effective in reducing the look of hyperpigmentation:

Aloe Vera

Aloesin, a chemical found in aloe vera, has been shown to help with hyperpigmentation. Aloesin works by preventing melanin formation in the skin.

According to one study, aloe vera capsules can help pregnant women with melasma.

You can directly put aloe vera gel to the skin daily. However, no studies have directly linked aloe vera to decreased areas of hyperpigmentation; therefore, scientists are unsure of the technique’s usefulness.

Green Tea

Green tea extracts have been said to aid with hyperpigmentation. Green tea has long been researched for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Green tea extracts have been shown to prevent sunburn and improve melasma in a little number of studies. Before scientists can completely grasp if green tea can genuinely ease symptoms, more research is required.


Hyperpigmentation may be reduced by using licorice extracts. Glabridin, a licorice extract, has been shown in studies to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin-whitening properties.

Glabridin-containing creams can be applied to hyperpigmented areas. You can find these products online and at drug stores.

Hyperpigmentation and Melasma

Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation. It affects the face and covers a bigger region of skin than other types of hyperpigmentation.

Melasma primarily affects women, with men accounting for only 10% of cases. Men and women are equally affected by other types of hyperpigmentation. Melasma is more common in those with darker skin and may run in families.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes melasma. However, it can sometimes be triggered by hormonal changes.