Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition characterized by dark patches, occurring mainly due to excessive melanin (a skin pigment) production. This form of skin condition is not specific to any particular age group or category of people, but it is more commonly observed among people of Mediterranean, Asian, Latin, or African origin. Also, any part of your body including hands, face and neck can be affected by this condition. Here are some of the most common factors that can cause skin hyperpigmentation.
- Sun exposure: If your skin is exposed to sunlight for a long period of time, it can result in hyperpigmentation. It happens due to the inflammation of the skin caused by the action of UV rays present in sunlight. This skin inflammation plays a significant role in activating melanocytes (skin cells that generate melanin), giving you dark patches of skin.
- Hormonal changes: Triggered by the consumption of a pill or pregnancy, hormonal changes in your body are also responsible for stimulating the growth of melanin. This disturbance in the chemical balance of your body causes hyperpigmentation in the form of ‘melasma’ (a common skin condition characterised by grey-brown patches on the skin surface).
- Specific drugs: Sometimes hyperpigmentation is drug-induced and happens due to the effect of certain medications like antibiotics, anti-seizure drugs, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and hormone treatments. This mainly happens due to the reaction of these drugs with melanin resulting in the formation of a drug-pigment complex that leaves dark patches on the skin.
- Heredity: In some cases, you can get hyperpigmentation if you have a prevailing family history of the disease. This skin condition is sometimes carried by the genes onto the next generation.
- Acne: It often happens that acne leaves back scars in the form of dark spots after healing. These dark spots are most commonly termed as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH). They occur as your skin produces excessive melanin in response to the skin infection.
- Excessive use of chemical products: Exposing your skin to harsh chemicals, present mostly in chemical products like hair removing creams, wax etc. can result in skin inflammation resulting in Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation.