woman without sun pigmentation

What Is Hyperpigmentation

Everything you need to know about how to get rid of hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation: What is it and how do you get rid of it?

Uneven skin tone or colour - known as hyperpigmentation - is a common skin condition in which dark spots (often called sun or age spots) or larger dark patches appear on the skin, often in areas that are exposed regularly to the sun, such as the face and hands. There are several different kinds of hyperpigmentation. It can appear in smaller patches, cover larger areas, or - in rare cases - the entire body. Hyperpigmentation can affect men and women of all ages and all skin colours.

Here we take a look at what is hyperpigmentation, how to get rid of hyperpigmentation and treatments to reduce dark spots and patches once they have formed, including pigmentation sun cream.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Melanin is the pigment responsible for giving your skin its colour; pigmentation refers to the colouring of the skin. Hyperpigmentation happens when your skin produces more melanin than normal. The excess pigment gives the affected area a darker look than the skin around it leading to uneven pigmentation - otherwise known as hyperpigmentation. 

What causes hyperpigmentation? 

Exposure to the sun. Protecting the skin with high SPF sunscreen from harmful UV rays is the best way of preventing sun pigmentation or stopping hyperpigmentation from becoming darker. Other types of hyperpigmentation form after an injury or skin inflammation, such as a cut, burns, acne, or lupus. These can occur anywhere on the body. 
Hormonal changes, age and inflammation. Certain medical conditions or medications can also cause hyperpigmentation. (Always seek professional medical advice if you think this could be something you have).


woman with sun pigmentation

Hyperpigmentation: What is it and how do you get rid of it?

What are the different types of hyperpigmentation?

How hyperpigmentation appears on your body will have a lot to do with what causes it, your skin type and colour and other factors, including genetics. Here are some examples of different types of hyperpigmentation:
woman without sun pigmentation

What is hyperpigmentation?


Melanocytes are cells in our body that produce melanin. After the age of 30, the number of melanocytes in both sun-exposed and unexposed skin decreases by 8% to 20% each decade. But the cells that do remain increase in size and ‘hold’ more melatonin. This can cause sun or age spots.

woman avoiding sun pigmentation

What is hyperpigmentation?

Sun pigmentation

Sun exposure is the primary cause of hyperpigmentation, as it is UV rays that trigger the production of melanin that causes the uneven pigmentation.  Melanin, the brown pigment that determines the colour of your skin, is the body’s defence against damaging UV rays. It is released in greater amounts when it is overexposed to UV rays in order to protect the skin. This rise in melanin levels is what causes a tan. Sun spots, also called age or liver spots that appear on the skin usually as spots bigger than a freckle are caused by overexposure to the sun. Freckles are also a very common form of sun pigmentation. 


woman preventing sun pigmentation

What is hyperpigmentation?


Melasma - also known as chloasma - is a larger area of hyperpigmentation that develops mostly on the face, especially around the mouth and forehead. It can also appear on the stomach. Hormonal changes appear to trigger melasma and it is particularly common in pregnant women affecting as many as half of all pregnant women, which is why it is also often referred to as the ‘mask of pregnancy’.


woman treating sun pigmentation

What is hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are dark or red marks or spots left behind after the skin has been damaged or irritated. The skin is left darkened and discoloured in the aftermath of an inflammatory skin condition such as dermatitis or psoriasis, as well as acne or a burn or even a simple spot that has come and gone (particularly if you touched it frequently). PIH is also common in eczema sufferers. Avoid scratching or picking at acne, scabs or spots, as this can lead to inflammation and darker pigmentation. If this is something you think you may have and would like a solution to, seek professional medical advice.


lady preventing sun pigmentation

What is hyperpigmentation?

Disease and medication

Medications including some antibiotics sometimes can lead to hyperpigmentation as they can react with melanin which can result in hyperpigmentation on the skin. Again, we recommend seeking medical advice if you think your hyperpigmentation may be caused by this.


Hyperpigmentation: What is it and how do you get rid of it?

how to prevent hyperpigmentation

While not all forms of hyperpigmentation can be prevented, limiting your exposure to and protecting yourself against damaging UV rays is the most effective way of reducing your chances of developing hyperpigmentation. 
sun cream to prevent sun pigmentation

Wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 15 - and not just on the beach or by the pool - is essential in helping to prevent sun pigmentation and hyperpigmentation. Choose a sunscreen that is what is known as ‘broad spectrum’, which means it will protect against UVA and UVB rays. Anti-sun pigmentation cream has the further benefit of preventing the formation of additional sun-induced pigmentation spots as well as protecting the skin from burning. Getting into the habit of wearing sunscreen regularly will help protect against developing hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure. At the heart of your anti-ageing, hyperpigmentation-preventing routine is a daily facial sunscreen that should be worn even on overcast days. 


While sunscreen is a key part of safeguarding against hyperpigmentation, sensitive skins can find that some skincare products burn or sting. In turn, this irritation can increase hyperpigmentation, especially melasma. For those with sensitive skin, NIVEA SUN UV Face Soothing Sensitive Cream SPF50 provides highly effective protection against UVA/UVB induced skin damage effects such as premature skin ageing and is gentle enough to use on delicate skin. Anti-pigmentation sunscreen, such as NIVEA SUN UV Face Q10 Anti-Age & Anti-Pigment Cream SPF 50 contains Q10 formula that helps prevent the appearance of sun-induced fine lines, wrinkles and pigment spots.

So that’s your face covered - quite literally we hope - now don’t forget your body. 


lady protecting against sun pigmentation

Forget sticky, gloopy sunscreen, whether it’s a cream, dry touch or spray. NIVEA non-greasy, fast-absorbing sunscreens make applying it uncomplicated enough for everyday use. NIVEA SUN Protect & Dry Touch Refreshing Sun Mist SPF 50 is particularly good for those on the go with its transparent, non-greasy formula that leaves no white marks. If you prefer the nourishing effects of slathering on sunscreen, NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture SPF 30 offers a moisturising hit alongside highly effective UVA and UVB protection.



With the city name we are able to locate your area and to determine the right uv index.


It’s a low uv index for [city]

With a low UV index from 0 to 2, no special sun protection is necessary. Nevertheless, you should at least use products with a sun protection factor for your day care in order to protect your skin. A sun protection factor should be chosen that is at least twice as high as the stated UV Index (e.g. UV Index 2, sunscreen with SPF 10).


It's an average uv index for [city]

With a medium UV index of 3 - 5, wearing outer clothing (shirt, T-shirt, blouse) is recommended. You should wear sunglasses and additionally protect your skin by applying sunscreen. A sun protection factor should be chosen that is at least twice as high as the stated UV Index (e.g. UV Index 5, sunscreen with SPF 10).


It's a high uv index for [city]

With a high UV index of 6 - 7, you should definitely dress your upper body. You should wear sunglasses and you should not do without headgear. In addition, the skin must be protected with a sunscreen. The SPF of sunscreen is at least twice as high as the UV Index. You should not only stay in the sun, but alternate between sun and shade.


It's a very high uv index for [city]

Avoid staying outside in the hours between 11 and 15 o'clock in the case of a very high UV index of 8 - 10. Even in the shade, the skin must be protected by long-sleeved sun-proof clothing. Long trousers are just as popular as sunglasses with UV protection and headgear with neck protection. The SPF of the sun cream that must be applied is more than 15.


It's a very high uv index for [city]

With an extremely high UV index of 11, 12 and higher, you should stay indoors during the lunch hours. Even outside this time it is advisable to seek out mainly the shade. Long trousers and long-sleeved, sun-proof outer clothing are obligatory, as are sunglasses with UV protection and a headgear with neck protection. Even in the shade, it is essential to use a sunscreen with SPF greater than 15.

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