Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless ailment in which areas of the skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin.
Causes and Symptoms
There are several different types and causes of hyperpigmentation, including liver spots (solar lentigines), age spots (seborrheic keratoses), freckles, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These last dark spots can be caused by the inflammation resulting from an initial skin condition like acne, a bug bite, or an injury. Some types of hyperpigmentation, like seborrheic keratoses and lentigines, are genetic and increase in number with age or sun exposure.
Sun exposure is a risk factor in the development and/or exacerbation of most causes of hyperpigmentation.
A provider will examine the skin to diagnose the type of hyperpigmentation and determine an appropriate treatment. Treatments include prescription creams or laser procedures that reduce the hyperpigmentation of the skin. Sun protection is typically a critical part of treating or preventing recurrence of hyperpigmentation.