Hyperpigmentation occurs because of excess production of melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives the skin its color and is produced by the skin cells called melanocytes. Some of the causes of hyperpigmentation include:
- Excess sun exposure
- Certain chemotherapy drugs
- Certain medical conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Chemical or physical injury
- Inflammatory diseases
- Tobacco smoking
- Hormonal causes
- Certain ethnic races
- Repeated contact with cosmetic products
- Prolonged exposure to a variety of topical products
- Contact with plants containing furocoumarins
- Constant scratching or other minor trauma to the skin
- Exposures to moderate heat or infrared radiations
Some of the medical conditions causing hyperpigmentation include:
- Addison’s disease (a disorder of the adrenal glands where they do not produce enough steroid hormones)
- Diabetic dermopathy (pigmentation spots occurring in the thigh areas of people with diabetes)
- Acanthosis nigricans (a skin condition causing dark discoloration in the body folds and creases)
- Hereditary hemochromatosis (a genetic disorder of iron overload)
- Post-chikungunya fever pigmentation
- Lichen planus pigmentosus (a chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting the skin)
- Actinic lichen planus (an inflammatory disorder of the skin)
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin more than the surrounding areas. It can
- occur in small patches.
- cover large areas.
- affect the entire body.
Although hyperpigmentation doesn’t cause any harm, it may be a symptom of another medical condition.
There are several types of hyperpigmentation. The most common ones include:
- Melasma: It typically affects the sun-exposed areas of the face or stomach. It is common in people with darker complexion who live in places with intense ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure.
- Sunspot: Sunspots or solar lentigines are tan to dark brown spots that occur on sun-exposed areas such as the face, hands, forearms, upper chest, and upper back. It usually occurs due to chronic sun exposure.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: It occurs due to an injury or inflammation to the skin. Acne is the most common cause of this type.
How is hyperpigmentation treated?
The general approach to hyperpigmentation treatment involves:
- Sun protection: People with pigmentation should prevent sun exposure between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Some of the common ways to combat sun exposure include:
- Cosmetic camouflage (hiding the pigmented areas using cosmetics)
- Chemical peels
- Topical therapies
- Laser therapy
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
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How Do I Start a Skincare Routine?To start a skin routine, it is essential to know the type of your skin. It is also necessary to know what suits your skin the best. Based on these, one can formulate a good skincare routine. Include plenty of fresh fruits, complex carbs (muesli, oats, millets), and nuts in your diet for healthy skin.
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hydroquinoneHydroquinone is a depigmenting agent used to treat dyschromia, a condition of skin discoloration or patches of uneven skin color, caused by freckles, melasma, sun spots/liver spots, and hyperpigmentation. The effects of hydroquinone are reversed with its discontinuation and sun exposure. Common side effects of hydroquinone include mild skin irritation, burning and stinging, allergic contact dermatitis, redness (erythema), dryness of skin, and inflammation. Use with caution in pregnant and lactating women.
Phytophotodermatitis Hyperpigmentation PicturePhytophotodermatitis, a form of plant dermatitis, is a skin reaction that occurs after natural photosensitizing chemicals (furanocoumarins) present within plant sap and fruits, become smeared onto the skin, and there is subsequent exposure to sunlight. The areas affected become acutely red, and often blister. Skin lesions may be linear or streaked in morphology. After the acute inflammatory reaction subsides, there is typically postinflammatory hyperpigmentation which may last for years.
tretinoin (Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Avita)Tretinoin (Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Avita) is a topical medication prescribed for the treatment of acne, wrinkles, and skin that has been damaged by excessive exposure to the sun. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy efficacy should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.and precautions, and pregnancy efficacy should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.