We have all heard about these famous brown spots that appear on the body with age and can sometimes be disturbing—known under the scientific name of skin hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation: what is it?
Let’s start at the beginning with a definition of melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives skin its brown color.
When melanin is overpopulated in localized areas, it is called hyperpigmentation. We then see small brown spots, which contrast with the lighter surrounding skin. These spots are generally found on the face, hands, neckline, or arms, in the places most often exposed to the sun.
Although skin pigmentation disorders are generally harmless, it is essential to monitor the development of age spots. If they change color, size, or shape, consult a GP or dermatologist.
The different types of hyperpigmentation
This is the classic age stain. Linked to sun exposure, even severe sunburn suffered during childhood or adolescence. Lentigo is also linked to skin aging and exposure to external aggressions such as pollution. They are recognizable by their small size and uniform beige-to-brown color, which turns brown over time. They are mainly found on body parts exposed to the sun, such as the face, the back of the hands, the upper back, or the neckline.
Melasma (pregnancy mask)
Also known as chloasma, melasma is a condition characterized by the appearance of areas of extensive hyperpigmentation, primarily on the face. Although it can affect both men and women, melasma is more common in women and is thought to be caused by hormonal changes, hence its nickname “the mask of pregnancy.”
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
These spots appear after skin inflammation, such as acne, scratches, or eczema. The color of these spots varies depending on the skin color: they can be red, purple, brown, or bluish. While dark and dark skin types are particularly prone to HPI, all skin colors can be affected.
Prevent the appearance of brown spots
There is no secret recipe. To protect your skin and prevent the appearance of brown spots or any type of hyperpigmentation, protect your skin from UV rays. Using a total screen on the face throughout the year, even in winter, but also mainly on the whole body in summer, is the primary prevention to avoid hyperpigmentation.