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Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments

26-07-2023 | Posted in: Blogs, Face Treatments, Skin Treatments

Hyperpigmentation is very common, but what are the types, causes and treatments associated with it? Read to find out!

Explore any beauty and skincare aisle, and you will likely feel overwhelmed with the range of creams, serums and correctors that promise to treat hyperpigmentation. However, to be able to combat this skin discolouration, it is important to understand exactly what hyperpigmentation is, what causes it and how to target hyperpigmentation with effective skincare and skin treatments. 

All of us should be committed to protecting our skin from harmful rays this season (and of course, all year round), thus we have created your ultimate guide to hyperpigmentation. 

This is your ultimate guide to hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition where patches of skin become darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, forms deposits in the skin.

Hyperpigmentation can affect the skin colour of people of any race. This is not permanent but it can last for quite some time, sometimes months or even years, especially in the presence of continuous sun exposure and if not steps are taken to prevent or treat this skin condition.

Hyperpigmentation is often referred to as ‘age spots’ or ‘sun spots’, but it can actually be caused by a number of factors, beyond sun damage.

What are the types of hyperpigmentation?

Before we start discussing the causes of hyperpigmentation, it is important to mention that there are several types of hyperpigmentation, each linked with a different cause and severity. 


This is believed to be caused by hormonal changes and may also develop during pregnancy. With melasma, areas of pigmentation can appear on any area of the body, however, it is most commonly found on the stomach and face. 


Sunspots are often referred to as liver spots or solar lentigines, and such sunspots are common. They are actually related to excess sun exposure over time.  Generally, they appear as spots on those areas that have been exposed to the sun.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

This is a result of injury or inflammation to the skin. For many people, a common cause of this is acne

Read more about types and causes of acne on the NHS page – read here.

What causes hyperpigmentation?

Sun Exposure

The body produces more melanin to protect the skin from prolonged exposure to the sun. This can cause dark spots or patches on the skin called age spots or sun spots.

Skin Inflammation 

Areas of skin can darken after people have had inflammation of the skin. This can include any, eczema, lupus, or an injury to the skin.  People with darker skin are more likely to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.


Darker patches of skin can form when people experience hormonal changes. It is particularly common among women and is thought to occur when the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone stimulate the production of melanin when skin is exposed to the sun. This type of hyperpigmentation is common during pregnancy.  It can also be triggered by certain medications such as chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, antimalarials and anti-seizure drugs.

Medical Conditions

In some cases, hyperpigmentation can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as Addison’s disease.

Hyperpigmentation & Age 

As skin ages, the number of melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) decreases but the remaining ones increase in size and their distribution becomes more focused. These physiological changes explain the increase in age spots in those over 40.

How can hyperpigmentation be treated or prevented?

This is what we all want to know! Is it possible to completely prevent the onset of this skin condition? Can we get rid of it if it does develop?

Read on to find out!

It is true that it is not always possible to prevent the formation and development of hyperpigmentation. 

However, you can protect yourself by:
  1. Wearing sunscreen daily with SPF protection of at least 30 or over!
  2. Wearing hats or clothing that blocks sunlight
  3. Avoiding the sun during the time of the day when it is the strongest, which is typically between 11am-4pm. 
  4. Limit touching your skin – by scratching or picking a mosquito bite or spot, it can result in inflammation and lead to darker pigmenation on your skin. For instance, when applying make-up or skincare on your face, make sure you wash your hands first.

Hyperpigmentation & Homecare

Sunscreen is the single most important factor in improving cases of hyperpigmentation. 

You should look for:
  • A physical-blocking sunscreen, preferably with zinc oxide as the main active ingredient
  • SPF 30 – SPF 50
  • Broad-Spectrum coverage 

As mentioned previoulsy, sunscreen should be used daily. We advise reapplying it every 2 hours if you are out in the sun (more frequently if you are sweating or swimming!)

Best Skincare Ingredients for Hyperpigmentation?


This is also known as Vitamin B3; it is a powerful skincare ingredient which has been clinically proved to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and even skin tone.


This is perhaps one of the most talked about ingredients of the decade, and for good reason! Retinol is extremely helpful in reducing the appearance of dark pigmentation spots by speeding up the natural skin turnover. 

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! 

Keep skin moist to boost cell turnover – this means you should invest in a good, nourishing and hydrating moisturiserWhile your primary goal with hyperpigmentation is to lighten the dark spots, it is extremely useful to utilise products that contain ingredients that benefit the skin; moisturising agents such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin to boost cell turnover. These inactive ingredients allow the active brighteners to work more effectively. A good moisturiser can also restore the skin’s lipid barrier, helping to further protect it from the sun’s damaging rays! 


What are the best treatments for hyperpigmentation?

Results from pigmentation treatments at Vie Aesthetics!

Why should I choose Vie Aesthetics?

Voted Best Aesthetics Practice Globally (20/21), Vie Aesthetics are synonymous with transformational and empowering treatments for radiant, discreet, and natural-looking results.

Meet Dr Liakas!

Dr Liakas at Vie Aesthetics
Medical Director at Vie Aesthetics

Our Medical Director, Dr Ioannis Liakas is an international expert in Antiageing, Regenerative Medicine, and Aesthetics with over 30 years of experience as a General Physician and Geriatrics Consultant, and over 18 years in Aesthetics. Dr Liakas is a Royal College of Physicians accredited Medical Educator and an international speaker, who and has been featured in countless publications. Clients from all over the UK and from overseas seak his expertise in combination treatments including injectables, BodyTite, the VieLift, Endolift, Hair restoration with Regenera Activa, PlexR, intimate health injectables, and Soft Surgery. His personable yet professional demeanor, combined with his remarkable sense of humor, creates a welcoming and comforting environment for his patients.

So, what are you waiting for?

Experience the customer service & treatments around, and book a consultation in our Harley Street & Holborn, London or Rayleigh, Essex clinics with one of our expert Doctors or Skin Specialists.
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Vie Aesthetics Clinics

95 Gray’s Inn Rd,


Harley Street

2 Harley Street,


78 London Hill Road,




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Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments
Hyperpigmentation Types, Causes & Treatments