Hyperpigmentation is literally caused by your body’s melanocytes and the melanin they produce going wild. And why does this happen, no one really knows. It could be skin damage to your skin or by inflammation or some other type of irritation. The only thing that is known for certain is that in this skin problem the melanocytes, those pigment-forming cells whose job it is to protect your skin the effects of the sun seem to go wild and cause very dark blotches to form.
Those most at risk from hyperpigmentation are Asians with darker skin tones, Mediterranean peoples and African skin tones. The reason that that particular peoples are more prone to hyperpigmentation is overexposure to the sun.
What happens when either the skin is damaged and exposed to the sun or if it is simple overexposure to the sun is that the melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells beneath your skin’s surface that produce the pigment melanin become overactive because of the overexposure the result is darker skin tone as well as the risk of other diseases.
Some have also linked the heavy use of laser-based dermatology treatments to hyperpigmentation.
Interestingly, hyperpigmentation could have an age-based factor involved, too, although this is purely speculative, however, since body aging is also known to cause the migration of melanocytes and other protections your body has against sunlight, it is possible that hyperpigmentation may be initiated by overexposure to ultraviolet rays or sunlight in older or sun-sensitive people.
Doctors have also linked such diseases as Addison’s or Cushing’s Disease with an increased risk of hyperpigmentation.
In reality, the bottom line is that no one knows what causes the body’s melanocytes to go a bit wild and crazy and cause hyperpigmentation but what they do know is there are treatments for this.
For instance, doctors have found that hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid, alpha hydroxyl acid and tretinoin are effective treatments, however, one has to be sure that one remains out of the sun or out of sun-tanning parlors while trying to stop this.
It’s interesting that in some countries people try to lie about on the beach to get great tans or let their melanocytes and melanin run wild while in other areas it is known to be a problem. The interesting this is that by the time the people looking for great tans realize the issues they face, they then face what others in other parts of the world have known for a long time that it is still best to stay out of the sun to remain healthy.