Oral Contraceptives + Hyperpigmentation
\We all know birth control can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding the right one for you. Some side effects can be more mood swings, heightened emotions and weight fluctuation, but another side effect from this hormone imbalance can be melasma.
About 10-25% of women who take oral contraceptives can develop melasma, due to the increased levels of estrogen in the body. However, the same can be true for progesterone, another hormone common in oral contraceptives, that can lead to melanin overproduction.
However, if you start to notice this occurring, we always recommend talking to your physician about other options. There’s lots of other birth control brands on the market to test, or more recent methods of natural ways that can be good alternatives. It’s all on a case-by-case basis, as everyone’s bodies are different, which is why we recommend talking to your doctor first.
Other Hyperpigmentation Causes
Is melasma hormonal only? While the condition often goes hand-in-hand with hormones, there are actually a handful of other ways it’s caused. For example, sun exposure and genetics can both be risk factors to causing melasma.
We’ve also seen some cases of hyperpigmentation around the mouth, which can be caused by weather conditions, UV exposure, side effects from certain medications or injury. And in more severe cases, it can be caused by melanoma, endocrine disorders or diabetes.
With the exception of pregnancy, many cases of lip hyperpigmentation can be prevented, as it’s often caused by smoking, excessive exposure to sunlight and a reaction to certain medications.
If you’ve ever experienced melasma-induced pigmentation, you might have seen it appear on the bridge of the nose, as this is a common location. If pigmentation is towards the tip of the nose, it could be from side effects of certain medications, or in more serious cases, due to the inflammation of cells (sarcoidosis).
Body folds, such as the neck and armpits, are another region highly susceptible to discoloration. Hyperpigmentation of the skin can appear dark brown to black, with or without skin tags.
And we don’t know about you, but we’ve had some serious dark circles under our eyes at some point. This form of hyperpigmentation is often caused by lack of sleep, stress, sinus infections, skin eczema, anemia or dermatitis.
Whether or not you feel like your hyperpigmentation is a sign of something more serious, it’s worth a trip to the doctor to sort out the issue and see what you can do to resolve it.
Understand the Underlying Hyperpigmentation Causes
Now that we’ve shared greater insight into various types of hyperpigmentation, and where it can be found on the body, let’s get into what really causes this unappealing discoloration.
We briefly touched above on melasma’s hormonal causes and its commonality among pregnant women. As a result of this hormonal imbalance, estrogen and progesterone levels increase, causing an overproduction of melanin, especially when the skin is under direct exposure to bright sunlight.
If you seek treatment for the condition, it’s important to identify its exact cause to get the most effective results. Luckily, regardless of the treatment you need, there are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) medicine options. Some include skin-lightening or whitening creams, retinol (derived from vitamin A) and facial peels.