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Familial acanthosis nigricans2.jpg
Classification and external resources
Specialty Dermatology
ICD-10 L81.0-L81.4
ICD-9-CM 709.0
DiseasesDB 24638
MeSH D017495

Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of an area of skin or nails caused by increased melanin.


Hyperpigmentation can be caused by sun damage, inflammation, or other skin injuries, including those related to acne vulgaris.[1][2][3]:854 People with darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation, especially with excess sun exposure.[4]

Many forms of hyperpigmentation are caused by an excess production of melanin.[4] Hyperpigmentation can be diffuse or focal, affecting such areas as the face and the back of the hands. Melanin is produced by melanocytes at the lower layer of the epidermis. Melanin is a class of pigment responsible for producing color in the body in places such as the eyes, skin, and hair. As the body ages, melanocyte distribution becomes less diffuse and its regulation less controlled by the body. UV light stimulates melanocyte activity, and where concentration of the cells is greater, hyperpigmentation occurs. Another form of hyperpigmentation is post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These are dark and discolored spots that appear on the skin following acne that has healed.[5]

Hyperpigmentation is associated with a number of diseases or conditions, including the following:

Hyperpigmentation can sometimes be induced by dermatological laser procedures.


There are a wide range of depigmenting treatments used for hyperpigmentation conditions, and responses to most are variable.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hyperpigmentation". Dermatalogic Disease Database. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Retrieved 2006-03-08. 
  2. ^ Rapini, Ronald P.; Bolognia, Jean L.; Jorizzo, Joseph L. (2007). Dermatology: 2-Volume Set. St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN 1-4160-2999-0. 
  3. ^ James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. (10th ed.). Saunders. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0.
  4. ^ a b Chandra, M; Levitt, J; Pensabene, CA (May 2012). "Hydroquinone therapy for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation secondary to acne: not just prescribable by dermatologists". Acta Dermato-Venerologica. 92 (3): 232-5. doi:10.2340/00015555-1225. PMID 22002814. 
  5. ^ Hyperpigmentation on Face (Acne Scars) Hyperpigmentation, Dark Spots, Acne Scars, Meladerm".
  6. ^ Gupta, AK; Gover, MD; Nouri, K; Taylor, S (December 2006). "The treatment of melasma: a review of clinical trials.". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 55 (6): 1048–65. PMID 17097400.