If you want to know what are the various hyperpigmentation causes, then this article will tell you all about it. Read on, and learn more about this condition…
If you notice dark spots on the skin or nails of a person, or if some parts of the skin start turning darker than the rest, then it could be a case of hyperpigmentation. This is a condition when the melanin level in one particular area of the human skin increases, or deactivated, or is completely destroyed. When a person shows this kind of a problem, then he/she should be taken to the dermatologist immediately as this is a dermatological case. There are a few common hyperpigmentation causes, and while some of these causes might be quite minor and may, or may not, require some medical attention, some like the melanoma, require immediate attention. Given below are some of the common causes of hyperpigmentation. Let us see what they are.
Hyperpigmentation of skin, is said to be a harmless condition where some parts of the skin, turn darker than the surrounding skin. There are two main forms of hyperpigmentation; ‘age spots’ also known as the ‘liver spots’ and ‘melasma or the chloasma. One of its main cause is the excess production of melanin. Some of you might ask what we mean by melanin. So, before we get into the causes, let us try and understand the term melanin.
What is Melanin
Melanin is a pigment which is present in our skin and is responsible for the color of our skin. If a person has less amount of melanin, then he will have a lighter skin color and a higher level of melanin means a darker skin color. These pigments are produced by cells called melanocytes and, besides giving color to our skin, they are also responsible for acting as the natural sunscreen for our body and protects our skin from the UV rays. Now that you have understood what we mean by melanin, let us now see what are the various reasons which lead to hyperpigmentation.
- Sun damage, is one of the most important causes. The UV rays of the sun, activates the melanocytes to produce more melanin and this increased supply of melanin in our body causes age spots or liver spots or freckles. If the skin is still exposed to the sun, then the melanin soaks up more of the UV rays which further turns the spots darker.
- Hormonal changes in the body also leads to hyperpigmentation. The hormonal changes that takes place at the time of pregnancy, can also lead to this. These changes are responsible for the second form of hyperpigmentation, melasma. Due to hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy, the production of melanin increases. These marks however disappear after pregnancy.
- While talking about hormonal changes, which are one of the main causes, we also need to look into Addison’s disease, which is another hormonal based illness and which also leads to hyperpigmentation, although it’s a rare disease. In this disease the adrenal glands are the ones that are affected. But this cause is rare.
- Certain medications like the birth control pills, or even chemotherapy, some antibiotics, some antimalarial drugs, can also lead to hyperpigmentation. Certain health problems like gastrointestinal problems, or maybe autoimmune problems can also cause this condition. It is best that you talk to a doctor about it and also remember, do not expose yourself very much to the sun while taking these medications.
- Inflammation is also another cause. After a cut, or some sort of damage to the skin, as the skin starts to heal, the area there turns dark and this area might remain dark either for a few days or months or sometimes maybe years. In order to prevent this, it is best that one treats the damage or the cut at an early stage.
People with darker shade of skin, i.e. people whose level of melanin is high, are at a greater risk to have this problem. There are of course several treatments that you can carry out and there are both home remedies as well as chemical means to treat hyperpigmentation. Take care!