Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin produces an excess of pigment, also known as melanin, and appears as darker brown, tan, grey, red, or purplish spots or patches. Many factors may contribute to the development of hyperpigmentation including genetics, ageing, UV exposure, hormonal changes and certain medications.

Hyperpigmentation can appear in a number of forms including freckles (ephelides), sun spots (solar lentigines), and “liver” spots (seborrheic keratoses). Melasma is a particularly persistent type of pigmentation seen more commonly in women that may be triggered by a shift in hormones, for example during pregnancy or after starting oral contraceptive pills. Melasma often develops over characteristic areas of the face including the cheeks, forehead and above the upper lip. Another form of pigmentation, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, may also result from a variety of skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Treatment for hyperpigmentation may include: