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5 Conditions and Diseases Associated with Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition easily identified by darker patches of skin surrounding otherwise normal colored skin. This skin discoloration occurs from an excess of melanin. While people with darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation, everyone is susceptible. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by sun exposure and skin injuries but is also related to a number of other diseases and conditions. While many of the conditions are cosmetic and harmeless, some are also signs of a more serious illness. Below are five common diseases and conditions associated with hyperpigmentation.


1.Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is a hormonal disorder caused by an adrenal deficiency. This happens when adrenal glands are damaged and cannot produce enough cortisol. These hormones directly affect your body’s ability to synthesize melanin. Melanin is thus elevated and causes hyperpigmentation. The dark coloring is most prevelant on scars and in skin folds such as your knees, elbows and cheeks.

2.Cushing’s Disease

The exact opposite of Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease is a hormonal disorder that is caused by excessive exposure to high levels of cortisol. While this disease is rare, people with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and blood sugar levels are predisposed to Cushing’s. Cushing’s affects your melanin synthesis and like Addison’s causes skin discoloration.


Haelmochromatosis is a hereditary condition causes by an overload of Iron in the body. The iron will cause skin discoloration as well as other more serious conditions such as diabetes and liver damage. Haemochromatosis can be diagnosed with serum ferritin, liver biopsy or an MRI. Often phlebotomies are the best treatment for this condition.


The dark discoloration associated with Melasma is common with pregnant women as well as women who take contraceptives or therapy. Discoloration from Melasma is most common on the cheek, forehead and lips. The increase in estrogen and progesterone produces more melanin in your body. Melasma can be caused by both genetics as well as exposure to the sun. It does not cause any other problems besides cosmetic discoloration.

5.Mercury Poisoning

Overexposure to mercury can also cause skin discoloration. Many skin whitening creams as well as other topical products have a high mercury content which can lead to Mercury poisoning. Make sure you take a good look at the ingredients in the skin care products you purchase to protect yourself from mercury overexposure.

While some of these conditions and diseases are serious, others are simply cosmetic. Regardless it is important to see a doctor if you experience any signs or symptoms of hyperpigmentation to rule out any serious illness. Always where sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun and learn as much as you can about your family medical history so you know whether you are predisposed to any of the other conditions associated with skin discoloration.

For more information on ways to gets rid of face pigmentation click here.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “5 Conditions and Diseases Associated with Hyperpigmentation”

  1. 1
    Elaine Says:
    You talk about mercury exposure - isn't this really dangerous in general? And mercury isn't just found in some topical creams. It's everywhere - even in the fish. It can also cause hyperpigmentation?