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Skin Hyperpigmentation

What is Hyperpigmentation of Skin?

Hyperpigmentation of skin is the darkening of certain areas of the skin. Melanin is a natural pigment found in the skin and is responsible for the color of the skin. People with this condition, have excess melanin deposits or clusters in certain spots or patches. This causes the skin in those patches to darken considerably as compared to the skin surrounding it.

Skin hyperpigmentation is generally caused by sun damage or skin injuries that are often related to acne. In addition to this, people with darker skin types like the Africans, Asians or people from the Mediterranean regions are prone to skin hyperpigmentation.

What are the common types of hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation of skin is classified and treated according to its form which is based on its cause. Liver or age spots are the commonest from of hyperpigmentation. Although it was earlier believed that these hyperpigmented spots were connected with the malfunctioning of the liver, they were later identified as a type of hyperpigmentation. They are caused by sun damage and are generally found on the arms, legs and face. Melasma or chloasma patches are caused by hormonal changes. This type of hyperpigmentation of skin is often seen in pregnant women which is why it is often referred to as the "mask of pregnancy". Facial hyperpigmentation is often seen in injured skin.

In addition to this, there are also several other causes for hyper pigmentation such as Lentigines, Drug-induced hyperpigmentation and Diffuse hyperpigmentation due to systemic disorders which is caused by diseases like Addison's or hemochromatosis.

How is hyper pigmentation treated?
Although this is generally a harmless condition, for cosmetic reasons people often seek to eliminate the unflattering patches. Treatment options include Retinol- tretinoin, azelaic acid and ascorbic acid. Hydroquinone and kojic acid are also preferred methods of skin treatment. The affected area cannot be exposed to direct sunlight while it is being treated or the treatment will completely fail.

Are there any natural treatments for hyperpigmentation?

Natural treatments for hyperpigmentation have often been disputed. Many of these skin care tips and remedies can offer some relief from this condition but none of the remedies can claim to completely cure the patches. Lemon juice and tomato juice are acidic in nature and so they are often used in natural remedies for hyperpigmentation. It is believed that they slowly dissolve the upper layers of hyperpigment tissue. It is important not to use this treatment before going out in the sun as lemon reacts aggressively to sunlight.