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Hyperpigmentation: Types, Causes, and Treatments

Everybody dreams about healthy and clean skin without rough texture and discoloration. In fact, there are a lot of skin conditions that everyone faces; acne, dullness, dryness, and discoloration known as hyperpigmentation.

What's Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that is signed by dark spots or some darker patches on certain areas, creating uneven skin tone. Hyperpigmentation is harmless, but it ruins the appearance and many people desire to treat it. Clearly, the meaning of hyperpigmentation is "more color" on the skin which can appear as brown, black, red, or pink unevenly.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

The main cause of hyperpigmentation is excessive melanin production triggered by several factors. For your information, melanin is a natural pigment which is giving our skin, hair, and eyes a color. Consequently, the amount of melanin that people have will affect some conditions such as pigmentation. Besides genetics, hyperpigmentation can occur due to:

Sun Exposure

Overexposed to UV rays is the main culprit of hyperpigmentation. Actually, everybody has natural pigments that are responsible to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV light. However, if the skin without protection (without using sunblock) is continuously exposed to UV, melanin production will increase and has a high risk of developing hyperpigmentation. Not only that, overexposed to sun rays can lead to premature skin aging or known as photoaging.

Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, hormonal changes happen to some women and is the main factor to cause the development of hyperpigmentation. Based on studies, the high level of estrogen, Progesterone, and melanocortin can trigger melasma, dark patches on certain areas.


Other than hormones and sun exposure, the use of cosmetics consists of specific ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury, and others could lead to ochronosis in some people.

Types of Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation has some other names to know, they are:

1. Sunspots

Sunspots is very common to appear. This condition is known as "liver spots" or solar lentigines since the darker spots is associated with sun exposure that happens for a long time. Moreover, sunspots is usually shown on the exposed skin are, the face and the hands' area for example.

2. Melasma

A little bit different, melasma has a wider darker area rather than sunspots. Worsen by UV rays, melasma occurs due to hormonal changes. In women, pregnancy may trigger melanin overproduction so that a certain darker area on skin develops around the face, neck and others.

3. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH (pasca peradangan)

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or known as PIH is caused by another skin condition like acne or other wounds. PIH usually appears after the acne burst and heal which leave a mark of discoloration. The size and the amount of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation depends on the wound itself.

4. Ochronosis

Exogenous Ochronosis is a black mark and patch due to discoloration of the connective tissue. Ochronosis usually caused by exposure to or use of substances and ingredients in a cosmetic product containing phenol, trinitrophenol, resorcinol, mercury (mercury), picric acid benzene, and hydeoquinone (hydroquinone). In fact, hydroquinone is an ingredient found in a cosmetic product to treat melasma. Unfortunately, for some people, this substance lead to a new condition, namely exogenous ochronosis. Looks similar to melasma, in ochronosis generally appears the dark brown spots like small coffee beans.

Treatment for Hyperpigmentation

Cannot be underestimated, the treatments to remove hyperpigmentation need extra effort. There are different treatments to treat one and another case since hyperpigmentation management should be based on actual causes. No worries, IORA Clinic now serves various options and effective therapies to improve your hyperpigmentation, including:

Skincare routine: Cream and Sunscreen

For light hyperpigmentation cases such as Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, the regular use of cream consisting of proper ingredients under a doctor's supervision may even out the skin. Also, do not forget to apply and re-apply the sunscreen min. SPF 30 to prevent worsening hyperpigmentation.

Tips: Apply sunscreen when you have outdoor activities during daylight, in the car, or even at home with many opened windows. Re-apply sunscreen after 2-3 hours from the first application, sweating, and swimming.

Art Peel

Besides regular skincare routines, physical modalities need to level up hyperpigmentation management. Art peel procedure at IORA is applied on the surface of the skin to eliminate the dirt, especially the dead skin cells. More than dark spots, the fine lines can be smoothen as well.


Laser treatment could resolve many skin conditions, including hyperpigmentation. Study shows that laser is one of physical modalities which improve pigmentations, uneven, and dull skin. Utilizing advanced technology with expert supervision, laser is effective option to remove sunspots, dark patches, melasma, and ochronosis without leaving scars and downtime.


The next treatment we provide is microneedling. Microneedling involves puncturing the skin with a small sterile needle to create a microscopic wound. The goal of this process is to push and stimulate wound healing response in the skin. With a special serum, microneedling can brighten the skin and dark spots.

What's the best treatment for me?

To determine the best treatment for hyperpigmentation, direct examination by a specialist doctor is highly recommended. Because the form of hyperpigmentation melasma and ochronosis almost look alike, it is necessary to have a diagnosis from an expert to do the appropriate treatment.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or known as PIH is caused by another skin condition like acne or other wounds. PIH usually appears after the acne burst and heal which leave a mark of discolohration. The size and the amount of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation depends on the wound itself.


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