Hyperpigmentation on face is the result of uneven, excess production and deposition melanin pigment as lesions. There are several causes for such excessive production of melanin. In some cases the cause is unknown and is idiopathic. The dark discoloration on face may be focal and well defined. It may also be diffuse with its margins gradually merging with the unaffected areas of the body.
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Hyperpigmentation causes and types
The quantity and type of melanin present in the skin imparts human skin color. Fair skinned individuals have lesser amounts of melanin whereas darker colored individuals have more of melanin pigment. However due to various reasons the skin pigment may be concentrated as spots or patches on the face or body.
- In melasma symmetrical patches of hyperpigmentation appear on the face. On exposure sunlight (UV light), the lesions darken due to increased melanogenesis. Nearly 80% of the persons affected by melasma are women. The causes of melasma are, excess exposure to sunlight, hormonal imbalances, oral contraceptive pills, cosmetics, perfumes, toiletries and pregnancy. Melasma treatment aims to inhibit tyrosinase enzyme activity. Traditional melasma natural treatments include application of epidermis bleaching agents like lemon juice and papaya juice.
- Freckles are concentration of melanin pigment and are more pronounced in persons with fair complexion. Apart from the face, freckles also appear on the exposed parts of the body. Freckles tend to darken on exposure to sunlight.
- Lentigo (lentigines) and age spots
- Lentigines are clusters of melanocytes. The small spots have clearly defined margin. They appear stable and are not darkened by exposure to sunlight.
- Mole (melanocytic nevus)
- Mole is a concentration of Nevus cells, a variant of melanocytes. The cause of mole formation is not clear and is believed to be caused by a defect in embryologic development. Acquired moles are formed due to excessive exposure to sunlight.
- Medication and chemicals
- Antimalarial drugs and amiodarone are known to cause hyperpigmentation. The chemicals present in the cosmetics, toiletries, perfumes are also known to cause darkened spots on face.
- UV damage
- Exposure to excessive sunlight or UV light has been found to stimulate melanocytes to produce excess melanin pigment.
- Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- The post inflammatory process of skin building after severe acne may result in hyperpigmentation. PIH occurs after an acne, burn, cut, abrasion and injury. The affected area turns darker than the rest of the skin.
- Smoker's melanosis
- The tar-components in the tobacco smoke stimulate melanocytes to produce more melanin pigment. Oral mucosa, lips and fingertips are found to darken with high melanin deposits. The hyperpigmentation gradually fades after quitting smoking.
Hyperpigmentation treatmentTyrosinase enzyme activity mediates in the synthesis of melanin pigment. The treatment of hyperpigmentation is by applying chemical agents capable of blocking tyrosinase enzyme activity.
Hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid, retinoic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, niacinamide and croton oil are some of the chemical agents and peels used in removing hyperpigmentation on face.
Natural hyperpigmentation remedies
Lemon juice, honey, aloe vera gel, papaya paste, horseradish juice, apple cider vinegar, Grape seed oil, evening primerose oil, sea-buckthorn berry extract, bearberry extract and green tea extract are some of the natural remedies for removing hyperpigmentation.
Microdermabrasion of the top layer of epidermis removes the old pigmented epidermis. A number of sessions may be required to get satisfactory results.
Laser resurfacing removes the top layer of epidermis with hyperpigmentation and stimulates new fresh layer without the dark patches to grow out. A number of sittings may be required to get complete result.
Hyperpigmentation can be prevented by avoiding all the triggering factors. As most of the dark spots tend to darken further on exposure to sunlight, avoiding the exposure and wearing proper sun protection can go a long way in preventing hyperpigmentation on face.
Hyperpigmentation on face - Pigmentation on face