After a summer full of sunny days have you noticed that small brown spots have appeared on your skin? In medical terms, this problem is called ‘hyperpigmentation’, and the most common cause of these spots is prolonged exposure to the sun. Next we’ll talk about how these pigmentation spots form and what you can do to treat or prevent them.
Why do pigmentation spots appear?
Pigmentation spots occur as a result of a process called ‘melanosis’ – a sudden increase in the level of melanin, the natural substance that gives color to skin and hair. These spots can occur at any age, in both women and men, and are particularly noticeable on the face, neckline, back, arms and shoulders.
As we said, most of the time, prolonged exposure to the sun without sun protection is behind the appearance of pigmentation spots. Melanocytes, the cells that protect us from UV radiation, start producing more melanin. When sun exposure is not controlled, melanin production can increase uncontrollably, resulting in pigmentation spots. In this situation, hyperpigmentation is also called melasma.
But sun exposure is not the only cause of hyperpigmentation. There are other, less common causes:
- Hormonal changes – medical treatments with hormones (estrogen or progestin), taking contraceptives, menopause, pregnancy, etc.
- Aggressive skin peeling – when scrubbing is done too aggressively, the skin becomes more sensitive and prone to sunburn and hyperpigmentation,
- Stress – emotional problems can cause these spots to appear,
- The ageing process – as we age, the number of melanocytes decreases but their activity increases.
How can you prevent pigmentation spots?
As the most common cause of hyperpigmentation is prolonged exposure to the sun, the best way to prevent it is to avoid exposure to UV rays between 10am and 4pm and to use sunscreen products. If you have to move around in the middle of the day, it’s a good idea to make sure your clothes cover the area’s most prone to pigmentation spots – shoulders, neck, and back. Choose lightweight, natural summer fabrics that let your skin breathe, and definitely wear a hat and sunglasses with UV protection.
If pigmentation spots occur as a result of aggressive peeling, stress or hormonal changes, you can consult a specialist who will find the best solution to the cause of your problem. If you don’t eliminate the risk factors, pigmentation spots will continue to appear, even if you stay out of the sun.
How can you treat pigmentation spots?
Hyperpigmentation can lead to low self-esteem and social isolation. If you are one of these people, we look forward to seeing you at the Deluxe Clinic! Our specialists will analyze the situation of your pigmentation spots, identify the causes of the hyperpigmentation and recommend an appropriate treatment: peels or IPL therapy. The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the pigmentation spots and the evolution of the skin at each treatment session. In some cases, results appear faster, in others they appear later. More details about hyperpigmentation treatment can be found here.
It is important not only to come for treatment, but also to follow the advice you will receive after the consultation. With time, you will get rid of these spots and you will also learn how to prevent their recurrence. Most of the time, simply applying a cream with SPF 30 or 50 is enough to avoid hyperpigmentation.