Pigmentation or uneven skin tone.
Hyper-pigmentation is darkened areas of the skin. This is caused by the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. It is common and usually harmless, but cosmetically is often a nuisance to those who suffer from it. It is caused by either an abnormally high concentration of melanocytes producing melanin or when melanocytes are overactive. For example when sun exposure stimulates them to produce of melanin. It can affect anyone although is more prevalent among certain ethnicities. It can affect any part of the body including the face, hands, and neck. People often refer to areas of hyper-pigmentation as freckles, sun spots, age spots or liver spots. Melasma otherwise known as the ‘pregnancy mask,’ is caused by hormonal changes due to pregnancy and is characterised by pigmented areas usually on the face (except the eye area).
Causes of hyper-pigmentation, include over exposure to the sun, hormonal changes, heredity factors, some medication, post inflammation eg after acne, burn, injury to the skin known as PIH.
There is no ‘cure’ for hyper-pigmentation. Care should always be taken to distinguish between normal and abnormal pigmentation especially if the cause is sun exposure. There are, however, options to treat this condition providing there are no abnormalities worries or concerns which we would refer you back to see your doctor. One of the most important things you can do to reduce you risk of excessive pigmentation is to wear a sunscreen and avoid sun exposure.