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Hyperpigmentation is a condition that refers to brown spots or uneven, dark patches of skin.  The brown spots are usually harmless and are due to an excess of melanin that forms deposits in certain areas of the skin.  There are several different forms and different causes of hyperpigmentation.  

One of the most common forms is called solar lentigines also known as age spots or liver spots.  They are usually caused from sun damage and occur where sun exposure is most common; the face, back of the hands, chest, shoulders etc.

Hyperpigmentation can also be caused from injury to the skin such as surgery scarring, picking at the skin, and acne.  Certain medications can also cause an increase in melanin deposits including birth control pills and some oral antibiotics. 

Another common cause of hyperpigmentation is hormonal changes.  Often times pregnancy can cause a form of hyperpigmentation referred to as melasma or a "pregnancy mask".  If you are pregnant or breast feeding, please do not use skin bleaching agents or lightening products containing hydroquinone or other chemicals.  We also advise against any products containing salicylic acid, or aha's including glycolic acid until post-partum and after you have finished breast feeding.  If you are pregnant, always check with your doctor about the safety of your skin care products.

Hyperpigmentation can occur in all races and skin types.  Darker skin types must use caution when treating hyperpigmentation.  Because the melanin is closer to the surface in darker skin types,  it is important to avoid aggressive peels and even some of the stronger prescription-strength lighteners because they can actually cause injury to the skin resulting in an increase in dark spots and  hyperpigmentation. 

Daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen is the best preventative for unwanted hyperpigmentation, and it is absolutely mandatory when you are undergoing skin lightening treatments.  The use of skin lightening and bleaching products without the daily use of a proper sunscreen, could result in an increase in hyperpigmentation.  Remember to apply sunscreen to all areas of the skin that are being treated with skin bleaching agents and to all areas of the skin that will be exposed to the sun.

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