Hyperpigmentation: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment


Hyperpigmentation is a medical term that refers to patches of skin which appear darker than the skin in the surrounding areas. There are different types of hyperpigmentation with the three most common being post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma and age spots. Each of these types has a different cause, and different treatments best suited to it. We will discuss these as well as the causes of the condition below.

What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

When the skin produces more melanin (the substance that gives the skin its color) than normal, hyperpigmentation occurs. It is a common condition and one that affects all skin colors, however it still makes a lot of people feel self-conscious. Some forms of hyperpigmentation are more common in areas of skin that are exposed to the sun. These include sun spots and melasma. However, other forms of the condition can occur anywhere on the body. These are often caused by acne, burns, cuts or inflammation.

While hyperpigmentation is usually more of a cosmetic issue, in some cases it can be a sign of an underlying health condition, so it is always worth speaking to your primary care physician if you have any concerns. If you feel that the condition is affecting your life in a negative way, it’s good to know that it can be treated.

Treatment Options

There are a range of home remedies and medical treatments that can be performed to reduce hyperpigmentation. These include:

Topical Creams

The most popular treatment option for hyperpigmentation is using a topical cream. You can start by looking at Immunocorp Skin Care Collection which has a number of options that are suitable including their IMMUDERM® Advanced Complete Skincare System which is most suited to the treatment of age-related blemishes. In addition to reducing the appearance of age spots, this cream also helps to reduce lines and wrinkles while firming and strengthening the skin. When looking for a topical cream, make sure to check out the list of ingredients. The ones you want to watch out for are vitamin C, retinoids, kojic acid, hydroquinone, corticosteroids and azelaic acid. All of these ingredients can help to lighten the skin.

Cosmetic Procedures

In cases in which the hyperpigmentation covers a large area, or in which topical creams haven’t worked as hoped, a cosmetic procedure may be the best treatment option. There are four main cosmetic procedures used to help treat this condition: microdermabrasion, chemical peels, intense pulsed light therapy, and laser therapy. Which is best for you will depend on the type of hyperpigmentation you are suffering from. A licensed cosmetician or dermatologist should be able to advise you on the best treatment for your skin, while also providing you with the pros and cons of each of the procedures. Do make sure to research the side effects of each treatment before going ahead.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera contains a compound called aloesin which works to inhibit melanin production in the skin. Although no research studies have been completed to prove its effectiveness, it is a popular home remedy and one that is relatively easy to perform. All you need to do is apply gel from the Aloe Vera plant directly to the skin on a daily basis. While no research has been completed on the topical application of Aloe Vera, One Study found that taking Aloe Vera capsules can help to relieve the symptoms of melasma in pregnant women.


One study, published in 2013, found that licorice extract may prove to be useful in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. The study found that the extract, called glabridin, is an antioxidant that has skin whitening and anti-inflammatory effects. Because of this, it is a good home remedy when the hyperpigmentation is caused by a skin condition such as acne. Many creams designed to treat hyperpigmentation also now contain glabridin, so it is worth trying if you can get hold of the substance in its raw form.

Green Tea

Green tea has long been studied by researchers due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. While more research needs to be performed into its effects on hyperpigmentation, one study found that it can help to reduce sunburn and The Effects of Melasma. To try this remedy, you can purchase green tea extract and apply it to the affected area. You may also wish to try boiling green tea bags, waiting for them to cool and then applying them to the skin. Repeat twice a day until you receive the results you are after.


While hyperpigmentation is not usually something to be concerned about, many people want to try to reduce the symptoms of the condition if they can. It is always worth speaking to a dermatologist or primary care physician about any concerns you may have, though the above treatments may prove to be effective when performed correctly.

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