Hyper-pigmentation occurs when the skin produces an excess of melanin. Many people are affected by these changes in the skin’s colour, and there are various causes:
• Melasma, or the mask of pregnancy, appears as brown patches on the face, often on the forehead and cheeks. It can be caused by a combination of exposure to the sun and hormonal changes. Oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy and pregnancy can all be contributing factors. The pigmentation may fade slightly over time, although further exposure to the sun will cause further darkening of the marks.
• Liver spots appear commonly appear on the face and the back of the hands, although they have nothing to do with the liver as their name would suggest. They are benign patches of darker skin where excess melanin has been produced in response to chronic exposure to the sun. They tend to worsen with age and continued exposure to UV rays. Freckles are similar, but they are also dependent on genetic tendencies and sun exposure, rather than age.
Pigmentation treatment involves using a combination of microdermabrasion, laser treatment and ultra-sound therapy. This removes the damaged layers of skin and stimulates the renewal of the skin and the production of collagen.