The Difference Between Hyperpigmentation and Melasma

The Difference Between Hyperpigmentation and Melasma

If you have dark patches of skin on your face, then you may have a form of hyperpigmentation called melasma. Hyperpigmentation is the word used to describe areas of skin that are darker than the surrounding skin, but there are different types of this skin condition and melasma is one of them.

So if you have an uneven skin tone, how do you know if you have melasma vs hyperpigmentation of a different kind? Either way, how do you treat melasma, does it differ to hyperpigmentation treatment?

Here’s the lowdown on both.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a broad term that encompasses the result of all the skin conditions that cause darkening to patches of the skin. It can be caused by a number of reasons ranging from inflammation, acne scarring, pregnancy and sun damage.

There are three different types of hyperpigmentation:

  1. Primary pigmentation causes hyperpigmentation generally without any other symptoms. Some of us are simply more likely to develop these kinds of pigmentation problems just like some of us are more likely to experience acne and psoriasis.
  2. Post inflammation hyperpigmentation is normally seen in those of us who tan easily and occurs after the skin has been inflamed, for example, after an acne breakout. This kind of hyperpigmentation isn’t normally permanent.
  3. UV induced hyperpigmentation, as the name suggests, is areas of darkened skin caused by sun exposure, known as sun spots. This is different from a suntan as it tends to last much longer and is less even than suntanned skin.

What is melasma and what causes it?

Melasma is a type of primary pigmentation, and is in fact the most common of this type of hyperpigmentation. It occurs gradually on areas of the skin, most commonly the forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose and the upper lip. It’s also much more common in women and in darker skinned people than lighter skinned.

Symptoms of melasma include flat, brown (of varying shades) coloured patches on the face. It doesn’t cause any physical pain but you may feel self-conscious about it, especially if it can’t be covered up with makeup or self tan.

Skin discolouration caused by melasma tends to be symmetrical – for example, if you have it on one cheek, then you’ll also have it on the other. Hyperpigmentation caused by other factors tends to be less symmetrical and may occur randomly across the face.

Melasma is usually down to a hormonal imbalance and as such is fairly common in pregnant women, caused by an increase in the female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. In this case, it’s called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy”.

This skin condition can also be brought on by stress, by having a thyroid condition or by taking the oral contraceptive pill or other hormone based drug. If you’re prone to hyperpigmentation and melasma, then sun exposure can also cause melasma patches.

How can I help to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin, that’s responsible for the pigmentation, or darkness of our skin. This overproduction can be caused by an imbalance of hormones, certain medications and hormone related disorders, injury to the skin, inflammation and excessive sun exposure.

Hyperpigmentation treatment from a medical professional includes hydroquinone creams. However, prolonged use of these can make hyperpigmentation problems worse. Therefore, many people look to skincare based solutions, rather than medical ones. These include the use of SPFs and cover up makeup. 

How can I help to prevent and treat melasma?

Melasma treatment very much depends on the cause, much like hyperpigmentation treatment. If it’s caused by pregnancy, then it’s likely to disappear after your hormones have settled down after giving birth.

Hydroquinone can be used but again, only in the short term. Like with hyperpigmentation, it will be helpful to use sunscreen or take other measure to protect your face from the sun such as wearing a wide brimmed hat and good quality sunglasses. Avoiding the direct sunlight when the sun is at its strongest, from March to October from 11am to 3pm, is also a good idea.

Can Vice Reversa help with my skin pigmentation problems?

Sure we can! We understand that having discolouration of the skin can be upsetting, whether melasma vs hyperpigmentation or any other reason such as acne scarring, sun damage or age spots.

That’s why we developed Vice Reversa Pigment Fader Microneedle Dark Spot Patches . Containing active skin brightening ingredients known to help fade hyperpigmentation caused by melasma, age spots, acne scarring and sun damage such as tranexamic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C and glutathione, they’re ideal.

With 500 serum infused microcrystals that dissolve deep into the skin, they deliver targeted precision help where it’s needed, and you won’t feel a thing.