The main manifestation of the condition known as skin pigmentation is a pronounced darkening of skin that results from excessive production of pigmentation or melanin. While it is not a dangerous condition and is actually rather common, it can be frustrating for those affected because it can be considered cosmetically unsightly.
Hyperpigmentation occurs either from hyperactive melanocytes or from an unusually high concentration of melanocytes that produce melanin. Exposure to the sun is one factor that can result in stimulation in melanin production. Though the condition has the potential to affect any type of individual, it seems to occur more frequently in people of Mediterranean, Asian, Latin or African descent. The physical effects of hyperpigmentation can appear on the face, neck and hands, as well as on any other area of the body. Some common variants of hyperpigmentation include freckles, suntan, melasma, lentigo and dark under-eye circles.
In addition to sun exposure, cases of hyperpigmentation can be caused by hereditary factors, hormonal shifts, trauma to the skin’s surface, antibiotic use, inflammation, antiseizure medication and acne. Cushing’s disease has been known to cause hyperpigmentation, as has Peutz-Jeghers syndrome. Insulin resistance has also been shown to produce acanthosis nigricans, yet another type of hyperpigmentation.
Some of the steps individuals use to improve their appearance can actually cause unintended pigmentation issues. Laser procedures meant to enhance the skin’s appearance has been known to sometimes cause hyperpigmentation. Mercury poisoning resulting from topical use of certain skin-lightening products or other mercurial salves has also been reported to be a cause of some cases of hyperpigmentation.
No real cure for hyperpigmentation exists, but that is not to say that effective hyperpigmentation treatment is an impossibility. The key is to identify techniques that work to lighten and diminish the physical appearance and manifestation of the condition. Beyond that, prevention should also be a primary objective.
Regular use of sunscreen of no less than SPF 15 is a good first step in preventing the development of hyperpigmentation. The discoloration that results from overexposure to the sun exists in the dead skin cells at the surface, and therefore exfoliation is a good pigmentation treatment that tends to minimize the visual impact. It is important to note, however, that exfoliation needs to be gentle in nature, as too much scrubbing or abrasiveness can actually exacerbate the condition and make it appear more severe.
In addition to exfoliants, other products are widely available that can provide effective skin pigmentation treatment. Skin care formulations that include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are especially useful. Lactic acid and glycolic acid work to eliminate accumulations of dead skin cells that contain excessive pigment. Chemical peels containing these ingredients work particularly well in reducing the darkened appearance.
Some other treatments that have been known to produce positive outcomes for hyperpigmentation include things such as azelaic acid, tretinoin, kojic acid, hydroquinone, topical glucocorticoids as well as licorice extract. To determine the most suitable course of skin pigmentation treatment in individual cases, check Skincareformenandwomen.com website or consultation with a dermatologist is often recommended.