Excessive, long-term exposure to sunlight is a major cause of hyperpigmentation in skin (particularly on the face, arms, hands and back) that’s left unprotected from the sun’s harmful uv rays. Further darkening of already hyperpigmented areas also occurs as melanin production is accelerated to protect the deeper layers of the skin.
Conditions like pregnancy and addison’s disease (decreased function of the adrenal gland) give rise to free radicals (which cause cellular damage), inflammation and hormonal changes within the body, which trigger the melanocytes to overproduce melanin.
Certain medications, including some antibiotics, antiarrhythmic and antimalarial drugs could also lead to the overproduction of melanin.
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Applying sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when exposed to the sun helps to prevent pigmentation. It is also recommended to exfoliate regularly to slough off the dead skin cells and minimise hyperpigmentation.