Hyperpigmentation – Brown Spots


Hyperpigmentation is often referred to by a number of names, including brown spots, melasma, age spots, liver spots, sun spots, freckles, and the mask of pregnancy.

Hyperpigmentation or Brown Spots is a common skin condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the surrounding areas. It is caused by an excess production of melanin and can be widespread or localized. Common types include lentigines (“age spots” or “liver spots”) and melasma (chloasma). Melanin-induced pigmentation variance can be reduced and effectively controlled to reflect the skin’s natural tones, with the proper treatment.

Lentigines are dark, uneven patches of skin, which often resemble age spots. Age spots or liver spots are solar lentigines, usually appearing as dark patches on areas frequently exposed to sunlight, such as the hands and face.

Melasma spots resemble age spots, but are triggered by changes in hormones. They can appear in areas such as the abdomen. Melasma often is associated with pregnancy or with certain medications.

What is Melanin?

Melanin is produced by melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. It is a class of pigments, responsible for producing color in the body, such as in the skin, eyes, and hair. It acts as a natural sunscreen when stimulated by sunlight. Melanin converts UV rays to usable forms of energy in the body, reducing free radicals that can damage cells. Excess melanin production is triggered by sun exposure, hormones, or certain medications.

How do Lentigines Form?

The cellular processes decrease and skin tissue reduces its capacity for regeneration and repair as the human body ages. The uneven distribution of melanocytes results in age spots or lentigines.

Trauma to the skin such as burns and blisters forces the skin to regenerate to restore loss of pigment.

What Causes Melasma?

Melanin production is increased by natural hormones or by synthetic hormones in medications. Chloasma is synonymous with melasma, which refers to hyperpigmentation associated with pregnancy. Birth control pills and thyroid medications can create Melasma. Human body hormonal changes effect focal hyperpigmentation through hormones. Melasma is temporary and resolves itself when hormone balance is stabilized-after pregnancy or when medication is stopped.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is caused by:

  • The sun’s rays
  • Hormones
  • Medication

Recommended Treatments for Hyperpigmentation