The structure of the skin changes over time. From age 25, the early signs of skin aging begin to appear on the skin’s surface. Fine lines are first to appear followed by wrinkles later. The skin ages for different reasons. Some are inevitable and cannot be changed, as they come with the natural aging process and are heavily influenced by genetics. On the other hand, some can be controlled, reversed, or at least improved. Understanding the structure of the skin and the internal and external factors that affect it can help you make informed choices about prevention and treatment.

help-for-hyperpigmentation

(Freeimages / Rado Nachev)

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin problem associated with aging. As you get older, you may begin to notice patches of skin that become darker in color than the surrounding skin. Hyperpigmentation is caused by the overproduction of melanin. Melanin is what gives color to the hair and skin.

Hyperpigmentation may have several underlying causes. The first is sun exposure. Then there is melisma, which may result from pregnancy or birth control hormones. Additionally, hyperpigmentation may be caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which results from discoloration of skin that has healed from a pimple, insect bite, or other trauma.

Excess Melanin Production

Most forms of hyperpigmentation result from excess melanin production in the skin. Hyperpigmentation can be focal or diffuse, affecting skin areas on the face and the back of the hands. Melanocytes, found in the lower layer of the epidermis, produce melanin. As people age, the distribution of melanocyte becomes less diffuse and the body loses control over its regulation. Light stimulates the activity of melanocytes, and when there is a concentration of light in one area, hyperpigmentation occurs.

Prevention

The best way to prevent hyperpigmentation is to be wary of sun exposure. Wear sunscreen every time you head out into the sun. Make sure to reapply the sunscreen every two hours, since it can wear off.

Treatment

Dark skin spots benefit from a good scrub, which can be a mix of microdermabrasion crystals and amber. The scrub must be safe for sensitive skin. Serious cases of hyperpigmentation can be remedied by chemical peels, lasers, or micro-needling.