Why does skin darken?

Hyperpigmentation refers to skin that appears darker, either in small patches or larger areas.

If you have noticed that areas of your skin appear darker than before, you are not alone. Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin darkens — this issue can affect small patches of skin, or larger areas. In some cases, it can even affect the entire body. Hyperpigmentation does not usually cause any harm or discomfort, but it can be a cause of cosmetic concern and is sometimes a sign of an underlying health condition. Read on to find what usually causes the issue, and what you can do about it if you are worried about the appearance of your skin.

What types of pigmentation are there?

The most common types of pigmentation are melasma, sun spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Melasma, which often appears on the face and stomach, can be caused by hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy. The condition is associated with patches of dark, discoloured skin, which usually appear in brown patches.

Sunspots are another common form of hyperpigmentation. This issue, which often affects areas like the face and hands, is caused by excessive exposure to the sun. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, can occur as the result of injury or inflammation, such as in in the case of acne.

What causes hyperpigmentation?

When too much melanin (the pigment that gives the skin its colour) is produced, hyperpigmentation can occur. There are a few health-related conditions that can affect the body’s production of melanin. Certain medications can also lead to hyperpigmentation, while hormonal changes during pregnancy also affect melanin production in many cases.

Sun exposure is also a common cause of increased melanin production, and can lead to hyperpigmentation, particularly in areas of the body such as the face and hands.

Can hyperpigmentation be prevented?

Hyperpigmentation cannot always be prevented. If, for example, the issue is caused by an underlying condition or hormonal changes, it can’t be avoided. It is possible, however, to protect your skin from sunspots, discolouration and damage by applying a sunscreen every day — be sure to choose a product with an SPF of at least 30. It is also advisable that you wear protective clothing and a hat anytime that you are in the sun, and that you try to avoid exposure to the sun when it is at its harshest.

What are the treatment options?

If you have noticed dark patches or large areas of dark or discoloured skin, and you are unhappy with your overall appearance as a result, it is advisable that you consult with a professional. Your practitioner will be able to determine the cause of your hyperpigmentation and let you know what kind of treatment is best for your particular needs.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which pigmented skin can be addressed — the most effective of which is usually laser treatment.

How can we help?

If you are struggling with hyperpigmentation and would like to address the issue, you might consider laser treatment. At Ada Aesthetic Clinic, the main lasers that we use to reduce brown pigmentation are the Q-switched Ruby and Nd:YAG lasers. These lasers are particularly well-designed for selectively targeting deep skin pigmentation. We also offer other options for removing certain sun damage pigmentation and more superficial pigmentation — these include IPL, BBL and fractional lasers.

If you would like to find out more about the types of pigmentation that can be removed, and how we can assist, please have a look here.

If you would like to find out more about our full range of treatments, please have a look here.

If you would like to book an appointment, please get in touch here, or alternatively call us on 02 9552 1442. All of the treatments that we provide are performed by leading doctors using only top-quality resources. We are committed to improving the overall appearance and condition of your skin, and offer treatments for all skin types and issues.

Make an Enquiry

The friendly team at āda aesthetic medicine looks forward to meeting you. Contact us today at one of our clinics or enquire online.

Glebe Practice

  • Phone 02 9552 1442
  • Address 88 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW 2037
  • Opening Hours
    Monday9:30am to 4:30pm
    Tuesday9:30am to 4:30pm
    Wednesday10:00am to 6:00pm
    Thursday9:30am to 4:30pm
    Friday9:30am to 4:30pm
    Saturday9:30am to 3:30pm

Our Glebe practice is easily accessible by train and bus. There is metered street parking available.

Wollongong Consult Room

  • Phone 1300 651 149
  • Address 332 Crown Street, Wollongong NSW 2500

Dr Peter Muzikants only travels to Wollongong twice a month and takes consultations there on Thursdays. If you'd like to request a consultation in Wollongong, please ensure you select the right location when enquiring.