Discoloration is typically a harmless condition where patches of skin are darker than the normal skin tone. This occurs when there is increased melanin deposited in the skin. It can occur at any age and in any race.
Melasma is a condition where skin on the face and neck slowly develops brown patches. The pigment may be located in the upper or deeper layers of the skin. It can be triggered by hormonal changes including pregnancy or oral contraceptives, but sometimes, the cause is unknown.
Lentigines are harmless brown spots (resembling large freckles) on sun exposed skin. They are sometimes called “liver spots” or “age spots”. They are flat and shades of brown and often have an irregular shape. They are caused by cumulative sun damage.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is when changes in skin color occur after inflammation, injury, or trauma to the skin. Many skin conditions like acne can leave dark marks behind even when blemishes clear. Injury to the skin from burns, cuts, or scrapes may also leave increased pigment.
Treatment for all hyperpigmentation includes daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+. You must minimize exposure to UV light and block visible light. Effective treatments include depigmenting containing products like Hydroquinone, retinols, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, chemical peels, and microneedling.