What is hyperpigmentation and how to combat it effectively?

Hyperpigmentation is a very common dermatological problem in many people around the world. Hyperpigmentation manifests itself in the appearance of dark spots on the skin, which can be difficult to address effectively. Although pigmentation in the form of freckles is accepted in today’s society, the non-uniform appearance of hyperpigmentation can cause an insecurity problem for many.

Many people resort to unsafe lightening creams to try to eradicate marks. These creams rarely work in the long term and leave the skin more exposed to sun damage.

While it is very difficult to completely eliminate the signs of hyperpigmentation, there are steps you can take to reduce or prevent brown spots and rough skin texturehelping your skin look younger for longer. Read on to find out what hyperpigmentation is, what causes it and what you can do to treat it.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation occurs when certain areas of the skin are darker than the rest. It is a fairly common skin problem that affects people of all skin types. It can appear in smaller patches, cover larger areas or, in rare cases, even the whole body.

Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin produces more melanin than normal. Melanin is the pigment responsible for skin colour. Excess pigment is deposited deep in the skin, giving it a darker appearance than the surrounding skin.

What are the causes of hyperpigmentation?

Some of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation include:

Sun damage

It is no secret that the sun’s UV rays are harmful to the skin of the human being. In fact, they are also responsible for the signs of premature skin ageing. One of these signs can be hyperpigmentation in the form of age spots due to prolonged exposure to the sun throughout the day.


Patches of dark pigmentation on the skin, usually on the face, may indicate hormonal changes.. It is mainly, but not exclusively, related to pregnancy hormones.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

When the skin goes through an inflammatory phase, such as acne or eczema, it can exaggerate and produce these darker spots after healing.

Medical conditions

In some cases, hyperpigmentation may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as Addison’s disease.. If you are not sure what the cause of hyperpigmentation is, it is always best to seek professional help.

How can hyperpigmentation be prevented?

There are many causes of hyperpigmentation on the skin, not all of which can be prevented, however, there are some measures you can take to avoid certain cases of hyperpigmentation:

Avoid strong exposure to the sun

Try to stay out of the sun during peak hours of the dayfrom 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you have no choice but to go out during these hours or any other time of the day, try to use an umbrella or walk in the shade to minimise sun exposure.

Wear a hat

In summer we are more exposed to sun exposure, due to long hours on the beach trying to get a perfect tan. It is important to protect your face and scalp with a wide-brimmed hat at this time of year. This will help shade your skin and avoid strong sun exposure.

Apply sunscreen

Sunscreen must become your best friend if you want to prevent skin blemishes. Choose a sunscreen that has a high SPF and always use it daily, even in the cooler months of the year, to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Limit contact with your skin

Scratching a mosquito bite or handling a spot can cause inflammation and cause darker pigmentation on the face, so it is best to avoid touching your skin. When touching your skin, e.g. when applying skin care or make-up, make sure you wash your hands first.

How to combat hyperpigmentation with aesthetic treatments?

There are certain cosmetic treatments that can help to fade and improve the appearance of dark spots on the skin caused by hyperpigmentation, such as chemical peeling treatment. 

Chemical peels are treatments that can break up the melanin clusters that form dark spots. The applied solution removes a damaged layer of skin and as it heals, it will reveal a newer, healthier, blemish-free layer. There are various types and concentrations of chemical peels to treat superficial dark spots or for more serious skin problems. 

At Clinica Rigo Aesthetic Medicine in Tarragona, we offer a range of medical grade chemical peels, with different strengths, from superficial to deep peels and different active ingredients to suit different skin types, concerns and tones.

All our chemical peel treatments are preceded by a full consultation, we will help you establish the type of chemical peel that will have the greatest effect for you and your needs. This will be based on your lifestyle, skin concerns, goals and other factors that we will discuss with you during the consultation period.

If you are considering a chemical peel treatment, you will also need to follow a home care regimen with specifically recommended products in order to achieve optimal results. This is especially important for patients with darker skin tones, as it will help prevent hyperpigmentation and sun damage after treatment, as well as for patients undergoing deeper or more intense chemical peels, to prevent any skin damage.

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