Skin hyperpigmentation may be idiopathic or caused due to sun damage, diseases, acne, inflammation, hormonal imbalances or injuries. All these conditions can lead to excess deposition of melanin pigment and hyperpigmentation or overgrowth of dermal and epidermal tissues.
Human skin color is determined by the genetic makeup which has evolved over time into different ethnic groups. The skin of these ethnic groups react differently to hyperpigmentation causing stimuli. The skin of very fair individuals may respond to excess sun exposure with sunburn and sun damage whereas the people of Mediterranean, Asian or African origins develops skin hyperpigmentation for similar exposure. However overexposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause skin cancer in both the groups.
Dark brown discoloration of skin
Hyperpigmentation generally leads to dark brown discoloration of skin. The discoloration can be as spots, patches or occur on greater areas of skin. Depending on the type of affecting disorder the discoloration can form on any particular region of the skin or generalized.
The discoloration can form on the face as in the case of acne scars or melasma. Many infections, especially by fungii can lead to brown hyperpigmentation which resolve after treatment of the disease. However in some conditions the dark brown discoloration may last for life.
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Dermal discoloration pictures
The pictures of dermal hyperpigmentation gives us a clear comparative idea about the medical conditions and help us in differential diagnosis of disorders like, Addison's disease and acanthosis nigricans. Addison disease initially may appear as patchy tanning.
The pictures also help us from differentiating between sunburn and suntan. Freckles are concentrated clusters of melanin deposits whereas lentigines is due to proliferation of of melanocytes. The lentigo has linear spread whereas the mole hyperpigmentation is a multi-layer nest of melanocytes.
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What is Acanthosis nigricans - Definition
Acanthosis nigricans is brown to black, velvety, poorly defined hyperpigmentation.
It is usually found in the body folds like groins, armpits, neck folds etc. There are many causative and triggering factors of this hyperpigmentation disorder like obesity, inheritance and hormonal imbalances.
The skin color of the affected area may range from light brown to black. Acanthosis nigricans hyperpigmentation can begin at any age. Papillomatosis (finger-like growths) and skin tags are observed in and around the affected area.
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Acanthosis nigricans pictures - Causes - Treatment
The causes of developing acanthosis nigricans are many. Obesity, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances, certain medications, hypothyroidism, pituitary gland disorders, genetic disposition, certain syndromic diseases and cancers are some of the causative factors.
There is no specific treatment for acanthosis nigricans hyperpigmentation. Treating the underlying cause and trigger can bring about the relief and resolution of the disorder. Reducing the sugars or starches in food to bring down the circulating insulin will help a lot.
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Acne is a very common skin problem especially of the teens and young adults. The pores of the hyperactive sebaceous glands get blocked and out come is acne and infection. The blocked pores with the onset infection tend develop inflammation.
The healing process in the acne starts with granulation tissue formation and matrix remodeling. In the new matrix, collagen protein has different fiber composition from that of the original protein leading to scars and hyperpigmentation.
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Acne scars types
Acne scars and hyperpigmentation are brought about by the healing process and the tissue repair mechanism. Depending upon the level of tissue damage and inflammation in the infected acne, hypertrophic or atrophic scars are formed.
In hypertrophic scars there is net increase in the repair tissue resulting in raised thickened tissue. In atrophic scars there is loss of tissue and causing the formation of depressed areas. Depending upon the appearance, atrophic scars are categorized into ice pick, boxcar and rolling scars.
For more information read 'types of acne scars'.
Melasma is patchy brown skin hyperpigmentation usually developing on the face. Genetic predisposition and frequent sun exposure seen to precipitate the development of melasma. Mostly women are affected by the lesions and is rare in men.
Pregnant women as well as women taking hormonal medications appear to develop the lesions frequently. The withdrawal of hormones or childbirth appears to resolve the brown hyperpigmentation completely.
For more information read 'what is melasma'.