San Antonio, TX, dermatology questions: What is hyperpigmentation?
The coloring in your skin is called pigmentation. When something such as injury, disease, or sun exposure damages your skin, it can disrupt the natural distribution of pigmentation. Dark areas of skin are called hyperpigmentation. Several conditions fall under this classification.
These flat black, brown, or gray spots are also known as solar lentigines, liver spots, or sun spots. They usually appear in areas that receive the most sun exposure, such as the hands, arms, and face. They are more common in people over 40, though they can appear at any age. The primary cause of this condition is UV exposure, from sunlight or indoor tanning. Actual age spots are not harmful to your health, but you may wish to have them treated for cosmetic reasons. Additionally, skin cancer can be mistaken for age spots, so it is advisable to have them examined.
Skin injuries and certain diseases cause inflammation, which can lead to the production of excess pigment. This is common in patients with uncontrolled acne, atopic dermatitis, or skin trauma such as a burn. It can also be caused by some cosmetic treatments such as laser hair removal and other laser procedures, IPL, and certain skin peels, if they are not performed correctly or are not appropriate for certain high risk skin types. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Vivian Bucay, who is an expert in all matters related to the skin, rather than trusting your skin to a spa or other non-physician practice.
This type of hyperpigmentation is also called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy, although its occurrence is not limited to pregnancy. Melasma can occur in women who are not pregnant, and occasionally in men. The condition is usually associated with hormonal fluctuations and birth control use as well as sun exposure and heat. It is not harmful, but it can have a significant cosmetic impact with large brown patches appearing, usually on the face. Treatment of melasma requires an ongoing commitment on the part of the patient, as this condition tends to recur.
The best solution for hyperpigmentation depends on the cause, your skin type, preexisting skin conditions, and other individual factors. Dr. Bucay will perform a comprehensive evaluation before recommending a treatment. Because hyperpigmentation is frequently accompanied by other skin concerns, the doctor may recommend additional treatment. For example, if the condition is resulting from an active skin disease, she will focus on the cause of the problem, not simply treat the aftereffects. If your hyperpigmentation was caused by sun exposure, you are also likely to have textural problems, sagging, loss of laxity, and possibly cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions.
Your best skin is flawlessly beautiful and radiantly healthy – and it is waiting to be revealed. Call 210-692-3000 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Bucay today.