Skin hyperpigmentation happens when our skin produces too much melanin and leaves dark spots behind. These dark spots on the skin often develop on the face, neck, shoulders, and the hands. Melasma during pregnancy is one form of hyperpigmentation. Although this condition is usually harmless, it can be difficult to hide and embarrassing.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin due to an excess of melanin. You might recall our recent post about age spots, which are one form of skin hyperpigmentation. Melasma is another way in which the skin darkens from overproduction of melanin. Often triggered by hormonal changes, melasma during pregnancy can lead to dark patches of skin on the face and stomach, otherwise called “the mask of pregnancy.” These often large, irregular shaped dark spots affect upwards of 90% of all pregnant women.
Aside from hormonal changes, hyperpigmentation is thought to be caused by excessive sun exposure, genetic disposition, and certain skin injuries. There’s even a condition called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which occurs following other skin conditions like acne or psoriasis, and even cuts and burns.
Where can hyperpigmentation be noticed?
Hyperpigmentation in its many forms affects people of all ages and all skin types. Fortunately, this skin condition is typically harmless, though it often comes as a blow to the self confidence. Skin hyperpigmentation sneaks up in the most conspicuous places like the face, hands, neck, shoulders, and forearms. So it’s quite difficult to hide.
While you can’t exactly control hormonal changes or genetics, you can take the necessary precautions for a day in the sun. Protect your skin and seek shade during prolonged exposure. After all, you only get one skin to live in. Treat it right.