The causes of hyperpigmentation and how to get rid of it

Hyperpigmentation is a concern to most women, especially those who are pregnant.

To better understand how hyperpigmentation forms, and how to prevent and treat it, Karen Bester, a skin expert at Lamelle addressed common concerns.

What are some of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation?

There are many things that cause hyperpigmentation; it can be anything from sun exposure, certain medical illnesses and medications, which cause the skin to over-produce pigment (melanin).

Why is hyperpigmentation so common during pregnancy?

It is due to the fluctuation in hormones.

We don’t understand what hormone causes hormonal hyperpigmentation. What we do know is that it has a specific picture – areas of pigmentation are on both sides of the face.

During pregnancy, going on the oral contraceptive pill, changing your contraceptive, fertility treatment etc. These situations can all trigger this form of hyperpigmentation. It is more common in pregnancy, though.

In some – and I think probably most cases – the darkened pigment does disappear after the baby is born. In some cases, it does not, and it sometimes worsens with subsequent pregnancies.

Is it possible to get rid of hyperpigmentation completely?

In my opinion, it is highly possible. So, yes. However, it takes many many months of being committed to a strict program to get rid of it. If, you have hyperpigmentation caused by hormones (melasma) you will probably need to stay on some form of pigment inhibition until you go into menopause. You should be committed to peels and in-salon treatments and adjust to your lifestyle.

You will have to be careful of the sun and be religious about applying sunscreen daily and re-applying it often if you are spending time outdoors. Mostly, make sure you have a budget as some treatments can be costly.

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