Hyperpigmentation is an overarching term used to describe a number of common skin conditions, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), melasma and sun spots. It occurs when your skin produces more melanin, the pigment that gives your skin colour, which creates dark spots or patches and affects people of all skin types. Most commonly appears on the face, hands and other parts of the body regularly exposed to sunlight.

Causes of hyperpigmentation.

The cause of hyperpigmentation depends on the type. The most common causes of hyperpigmentation are:

  • Sun exposure and pollution exposure
  • Skin inflammation
  • Melasma
  • Reactions to drug use
  • Medical conditions
  • Hormonal changes
  • Skin inflammation from acne, eczema or skin injury
  • blue light from screens and electronic devices

More serious causes of hyperpigmentation include Addison’s disease and hemochromatosis. Any symptoms related to Addison's disease should be discuss with a GP. 

    3 most common types of hyperpigmentation?

    • Age pots also called liver spots or solar lentigines. Most commonly appear on the face and hands, or on any areas with prolonged exposure to the sun
    • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation usually appear on the neck and face and commonly with people who have had inflammation or an  injury to the skin. 
    • Melasma, also called chloasma, often appear on the forehead, face and stomach. More common in pregnant woman or those taking birth control pills. People with a more darker complexion are more prone to develop melasma.