Hyperpigmentation of the skin refers to an area in which an excess of melanin has been produced, causing those patches to appear darker than the skin surrounding them. There are many causes of hyperpigmentation, such as sun exposure, hormonal changes, heredity, trauma to the area, and acne. Hyperpigmentation caused by trauma and acne is commonly referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH.
The treatment of hyperpigmentation most often depends on the cause. Many common treatments of hyperpigmentation include prescription topical medications designed to lighten the skin, chemical peels, and light or laser treatments.
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Hypopigmentation, or loss of color of the skin, refers to an area in which melanin is being under produced, causing white or depigmented patches of skin to appear. Hypopigmentation is most commonly caused by trauma or damage to the skin, such as burns, scrapes, or any injury which could cause scarring. Other causes of hypopigmentation include chronic skin conditions, such as vitiligo and albinism.
There are fewer options for the treatment of hypopigmentation in comparison to the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Treating hypopigmentation may involve the use of prescription topical medications, as well as light or laser treatment, such as the Excimer laser.
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