Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition whereby some patches of the skin are darker in color than the rest of the surrounding skin. This happens as a result of excess production of melanin in the skin, a pigment which is responsible for skin, hair and eye color. This harmless condition affects people of any race. These patches vary in size, shape and color.
Hyperpigmentation comes in various forms. These include age spots, melasma, freckles, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (which is a result of a wound)
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What triggers the overproduction of melanin, you may ask, it is usually caused by sun exposure but other things such as genes, injuries or inflammation and hormonal changes or influences can be factors as well.
The reason why sun exposure is the major cause is because melanin is the skin’s natural sunscreen that shields it from harmful Ultra Violet rays of the sun and because sunlight triggers the production of melanin in the first instance, excessive sun exposure can disrupt this process, leading to the condition.
This can be prevented by limiting time spent in the sun, use of broad-spectrum sunscreen with high Skin Protecting factor (SPF) and wearing protective clothing if you do have to be in the sun. This can help reduce the risk of developing the condition and prevents already darkened areas from getting worse.
Next time, we shall discuss available treatments for this condition.