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Hyperpigmentation Causes

Hyperpigmentation is defined as the excessive darkening of the skin due to increased melanin deposits. It is often classified according to its type and root cause. Hyperpigmentation causes can be environmental causes or they could be intrinsic causes. Hyperpigmentation can be induced by environmental causes such as products or procedures or improper skin care. Alternatively, it can be triggered by intrinsic causes. Intrinsic pigmentation causes generally constitute natural processes such as aging, pregnancy etc.  

In most cases, environmental factors cause sudden hyperpigmentation. In such cases, the hyperpigmented patches can become prominent in less than 6 months. If the onset is recent the chances of treatment is much higher. The pigmentation can either be in the epidermis or the dermis of the skin. The deeper it is situated, the more difficult it is to treat.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

There are several causes of hyperpigmentation. In addition to the causes, hyperpigmentation can be either diffuse or focal. The main hyperpigmentation causes are listed below.

Type 1: Focal Hyperpigmentation.

1.    One of the main Focal Hyperpigmentation causes is inflammation. This type of Hyperpigmentation is often seen in people who suffer from acne. It is caused by excess deposits of melanin in scarred tissue. This brown pigment darkens when exposed to sunlight and leads to the discoloration.
2.    Dermatoses or skin problems diseases such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis result in inflammation. Long after the disease has been treated successfully patches of inflamed skin remain discolored.
3.    Injury to the skin in the form of burns or chemical exposure too causes hyperpigmentation.
This type of hyper pigmentation is generally temporary although it may take months to fade away completely. As the scar tissue heals, the excess melanin is absorbed by the body and the discoloration fades.

Type 2: Diffuse Hyperpigmentation.

1.    Diffuse Hyperpigmentation is often the result of the body’s reaction to certain drugs like isoniazid.
2.    Diffuse Hyperpigmentation can also be an autoimmune condition.
3.    This type of Hyperpigmentation also has metabolic causes such as hemochromatosis or Iron deposition, pellagra, folic acid deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency.
A person suffering from diffuse Hyperpigmentation may experience a darkening of the skin that is equally intense over the entire body. In many cases, it can also be accentuated in areas that are most often exposed to direct sunlight.

Hyperpigmentation is also associated with gastrointestinal diseases such as Whipple’s Disease, Felty’s Syndrome and Cirrhosis. In most cases, dermabrasion and a topical application of exfoliants can lighten Hyperpigmentation and even eliminate it completely. If the affected area is caused by extensive scarring, laser surgery has been proven to have extremely effective results.