Pigmentation is a condition that causes your skin to darken. It is harmless and it is more of a cosmetic issue for most people which can affect just some areas of the skin or even the entire body. These can appear not only due to sun exposure, but also due to inflammations and certain medications. Age spots, also called liver spots, are a common type of hyperpigmentation.
Types of Hyperpigmentation:
- Melasma; due to hormonal changes, it is usually developed during pregnancy. It appears on any area of the body, most commonly on the stomach and face.
- Sunspots or solar lentigines; the most common type of hyperpigmentation. They are related to sun exposure over-time. Generally they appear as spots on the areas exposed to the sun, like hands and face.
- Post – inflammatory hyperpigmentation; a result of injury or inflammation to the skin. A common cause of this is acne.
A specialist can diagnose the cause of your hyperpigmentation. Topical application of skin lightening cosmetics containing retinoids, vitamin C, arbutin, kojic acid are some of the ingredients that will help you brighten your skin.
Homecare also includes daily use of sunscreens, the most important factor in improving hyperpigmentation. Choose a sunscreen based on mineral filters that physically block the UV rays.
It’s not always possible to prevent hyperpigmentation, however you can protect yourself by using an SPF of at least 30. Reapply every 2 hours or more often if you are out in the sun, if sweating or swimming. Wear clothes and hats that block sunlight, and avoid the sun during the time of the day that is strongest, usually between 10.00 am to 4:00 pm.
Be more careful whenever you are under certain medication like antibiotics and birth control pills to wear a higher SPF for extra protection.
In some cases dark areas will fade on their own with good sun protection. In other cases, a more specialized treatment is required to be performed by a professional.
And remember, sunscreen is vital every season, not just during summertime!