Does it tend to appear at a certain age?
Hyperpigmentation will usually worsen as we become older. Our melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment) reduce their turnover and increase in size as we age. In my experience, sun induced pigment definitely becomes more visible and apparent with age. Damage that has been caused from prolonged sun exposure during our childhood can start to surface on our face and body. Older women that are using HRT during menopause are definitely more prone. We have to watch younger skin as well. That cute spray of freckles across the nose and cheeks in younger people can become more dense, causing uneven tone and darkness to the face. In my experience, sun induced pigment (sun damage) absolutely becomes more visible and apparent with age. Melasma caused by the pill is very common in younger women as well.
Is it, or can it be, genetic?
While it can be caused by our genes – like freckles and hormonalpigment – hyperpigmentation in Australia is largely an environmental condition. This is good news. It means by managing our environment we can prevent and minimise the effects.