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How Does Hyperpigmentation Affect Darker Skin Tones?

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By Author: Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD
Total Articles: 17
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Hyperpigmentation is a dark spot on the skin, this can be caused by numerous things. It affects most skin tones but tends to be more intense on darker skin tones.

The skin has a pigment known as melanin. It is found in most skin types, yet skin of color contains higher amounts of melanin. In some instances, excess amounts of melanin occur on the skin, leading to hyperpigmentation. This is when an area of skin is darker than the surrounding skin.

Everyone's skin contains various tissue layers. The outer layer is the epidermis with the dermis found deeper in the skin, below the epidermis. Hyperpigmentation can affect the epidermis, dermis, or both of these layers. Epidermal hyperpigmentation is easier to treat, even though it could take several months before you see any improvement, but dermal hyperpigmentation is much harder to treat and could be permanent.

Hyperpigmentation is very common in darker skin tones and is one of the top five most commonly diagnosed skin conditions. It is harmless, but it can cause psychological stress and impact a person's quality of life. This is why it's essential to get effective ...
... treatments to improve confidence and self-esteem.

Hyperpigmentation looks like a spot, mark, or area that is darker than the surrounding skin. The color of the hyperpigmentation can depend on the cause and the overall skin tone. You can look for spots that are brown, gray-brown, tan, blue-gray, purple, or black. You will need to see a dermatologist for hyperpigmentation, they specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various skin conditions.

The dermatologist will ask numerous medical questions including any health conditions, medications you may be taking, lifestyle habits when you first noticed the spots, and if you have tried any treatments. The affected area will be thoroughly examined. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be performed if the cause of the hyperpigmentation is not clear.

The good news is that most hyperpigmentation can be treated. Some skin conditions, such as psoriasis or acne can contribute to hyperpigmentation. Treating these conditions is essential to slow down or stop dark spots from appearing. Your dermatologist works with you and sets up a treatment plan based on your condition. You need to stick to the plan to reduce the risk of further dark spots in the future.

Some medications are known to cause hyperpigmentation and your dermatologist may recommend an alternative medication or a different dose. Do not stop prescription medication unless you are under the supervision of a doctor.

Even if you have a dark skin tone, sunscreen is essential to reduce the harmful effects of uv rays produced by the sun. Sunlight exposure will make dark spots darken even further. You should be applying sunscreen before you step out of the house every day, even when it is cloudy and raining. You need a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers uva and uvb protection with an spf of thirty or more. It should be applied over the entire body at least thirty minutes before you go outside and needs to be reapplied every two hours.

In addition to some medications, your dermatologist may recommend a procedure, such as a chemical peel that is applied to your skin and helps to break down the dark spots. They may also recommend laser treatment to use wavelengths to destroy the cells and lighten the skin.

If you have hyperpigmentation on your darker skin tone then it is useful to find a dermatologist with experience working with patients of color. You can use the american academy of dermatology or the skin of color society to help you find the right dermatologist in your area.

About us: tone dermatology is an innovative patient-orientated dermatology practice ideally located in chicago. This well-established practice is focused on empowering choice and knowledge for skin, hair, and glow. The practice is owned and operated by board-certified and patient-approved dr. Caroline robinson, md, faad, who is a general medicine and surgical dermatology specialist. She is a physician, speaker, and advocate for diversity in dermatology, providing patients with first-class services, products, and support. Tone dermatology offers a complete range of in-house services and an online store that is overflowing with hand-selected and approved products. Full details can be found at https://tonedermatology.com.

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