Hyperpigmentation is when an area of skin is darker than the surrounding skin. This includes types of discolouration such as:
Freckles are most common in fair skinned individuals and are predominantly found on the face, and often before puberty. They are caused by exposure to the sun, and indicate that these individuals have less natural protection against the sun, and need to take extra precautions.
Melasma often looks more patchy than like a spot, and these brown patches develop in conjunction with hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy.
Solar lentigines arise later in life, they are referred to as “age spots”, and sometimes “liver spots”. These are a result of accumulated sun damage over years. These spots are found on areas most often exposed to the sun such as the face, chest, hands, and scalp.
True ‘age spots’ are harmless, but some melanoma skin cancers resemble these marks, so it is important to consult with a dermatologist before beginning any cosmetic treatment.