Dark Spots On Skin

Dark Spots On Skin

Dark spots on skin, also known as hyperpigmentation, hyperchromia or melasma, can be an embarrassing condition for those affected.  It can be especially embarrassing when dark spots are found on the face.

Facial hyperpigmentation, or dark spots on the face, are difficult to cover and they can take a fairly long time to treat.

Hyperpigmentation, or dark spots, is a very common condition that is addressed with dermatologists.  Treatment of dark spots on skin often requires the specialized knowledge of dermatologists.

Skin hyperpigmentation, in particular facial hyperpigmentation, often requires treatment with depigmenting agents.

Hyperpigmentation is a condition that tends to affect skin of color.  Brown skin is more susceptible to developing dark spots.

Skin of color, or ethnic skin, refers to the skin of individuals of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic and American Indigenous descent.  These skin types are more abundantly pigmented.

Within our skin there are structures called melanocytes which produce a group of biological compounds called melanin.  Melanin is not a single compound but rather a chemically similar compounds.  Melanin is what gives skin it’s color.

Melanosomes are the structures within melanocytes where melanin is synthesized.  The formation of melanin is known as melanogenesis.

There are two broad categories of melanin; eumelanin and pheomelanin.  Eumelanin is a black-brown pigment whereas pheomelanin is a red-yellow pigment.  Mixtures of these two types of melanins leads to the wide variation of skin tones we see.

Darker skin tends to have more total melanin than lighter skin.  Darker skin also tends to have more eumelanin than pheomelanin when compared to lighter skin.

The amino acid tyrosine is a major chemical component needed by melanocytes to make melanin.  An enzyme called tyrosinase chemically converts tyrosine to dopaquinone. Further biochemical reacts lead to the formations of either eumelanin or pheomelanin.

Due to it’s early, and major, role in the early stages of the chemical cascade that leads to the formation of melanin, tyrosinase is a major target of interest for developing depigmenting agents.  These agents inhibit tyrosinase thus stopping a very important step in biosynthesis of melanin.

Treatment methods for dark spots on skin include:

  • skin-lightening/depigmenting agents – also known as tyrosinase inhibitors (hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid)
  • chemical peeling agents
  • laser therapy
  • and more

To learn more about other embarrassing health issues visit our Conditions page.