WHAT IS IT:
Hyperpigmentation appears as freckles, brown blotches and patches on the skin. Not all hyperpigmentation is the same so effective treatment requires accurate identification of the cause or type of pigment disturbance.
Possible causes include sun damage, hereditary factors, hormone disturbances or treatment and pregnancy. More rarely they can relate to more serious conditions such as Addison's Disease. Inflammation or irritation from eczema, burns, scars, spots, insect bites or injury can also cause hyperpigmentation.
The Fitzpatrick Scale and Obagi Skin Classification system are helpful aids to identifying how different skin types respond to sun exposure and injury. As one goes up the Fitzpatrick Scale, the skin type becomes more prone to pigment disturbance and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation(PIH). This is an important consideration when not only deciding on cause but also appropriate treatment. Some treatments are not suitable for certain skin types and may cause further darkening or even scarring. Patience is almost always required when treating pigmentat disruption but results can be achieved.
Fastidiously using a good quality broad spectrum SPF product is usually an important part of both treating and preventing hyperpigmentation.