Hyperpigmentation occurs when your skin over produces melanin (the pigment responsible for skin and hair color) and shows up as spots darker than your natural skin tone. Although there are several types of hyperpigmentation that develop for different reasons, the three most common include:
- Sun damage – Sun exposure causes a release of melanin, which is the reason that your skin turns darker after some time in the sun. We’re all about that summertime Vitamin D, but too much UV light from unprotected sun exposure can overwhelm the skin, disrupt this process, and lead to the emergence of light or dark brown spots on areas exposed to the most sun (face, chest, upper back, hands).
- Melasma – Changes in hormones, birth control pills, and pregnancy can trigger melasma. This kind of hyperpigmentation typically appears as symmetric, blotchy patches on the face. Common areas include upper lip, forehead, bridge of the nose, and cheeks.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation – Injury or inflammation to the skin (in the form of acne, dermatitis, eczema, bug bites) can result in the development of dark brown, pink, or red spots.