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Hyperpigmentation Scars

The unusual darkening of the skin in certain areas of the body is called Hyperpigmentation. The lower layer of skin contains melanocytes which produce the pigment melanin. This brown pigment is responsible for our skin color. The greater the number of melanocytes, the greater the amount of melanin present in the skin and therefore the darker the skin color. When the lower layers of skin are damaged the affected areas are stimulated into producing excess melanin. Therefore acne scars and other injuries that affect the lower layer of skin are prone to Hyperpigmentation.

Many Hyperpigmentation scars are easy to treat and can disappear completely without any assistance. This is especially true in the case of acne scars. There are various types of skin problems and scars according to their causes.

•    Acne Scar Hyperpigmentation: This type of a Hyperpigmentation scar is extremely common. The bacterial infection that causes acne thrives in the pores of the skin. If the acne outbreak is prolonged or the treatment is delayed, the lower layer of the skin suffers greater damage. The scars from this outbreak are therefore more prone to intense Hyperpigmentation. It is best to avoid this type of Hyperpigmentation by treating acne outbreaks instantly. Picking at pimples can lead to intensive scaring and therefore an increased chance of Hyper pigmentation. Although it is not necessary, an acid-based topical regime is used to treat this type of hyperpigmentation scar to speed up the healing process.      

•    Age spots and freckles : Age spots were earlier called liver spots as it was believed that the malfunctioning of the liver caused this type of Hyperpigmentation. This theory may have originated from the fact that many age spots have a similar discolored shape as that of the liver. These age spots along with freckles are caused by an overexposure to direct sunlight. The best treatment for these hyperpigmentation scars is micro-dermabrasion, scrubs and other non-acidic exfoliants.

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: Skin diseases like dermal eczema affect the lower layers of skin. This damage is beneath the upper layer of skin and so surface peels and scrubs do not have much of an effect. The best method of skin treatment for this type of Hyperpigmentation is Laser treatment. Several sessions may be required to completely eliminate the discoloration.

In addition to these causes, hormonal changes, especially the changes experienced during pregnancy can cause Hyperpigmentation. Drug-induced hyperpigmentation is caused as a result of the body’s reaction to certain medications. In such cases, the doctor may advise a change of medication. Diseases like Whipple’s, Addison's and hemochromatosis often cause Hyperpigmentation. The method and intensity of the treatment can only be decided by a qualified dermatologist.