Everything you Need to Know About Pigment Spots

Everything you Need to Know About Pigment Spots

We at Damara Day Spa are committed to providing our customers with the highest standard of service. That involves providing you with valuable content with regard to some of the issues our customers face. 

We came across this article in the Vivescence Magazine and we immediately knew it had to be shared with our followers.

The link to the original article is: http://www.vivescence.com/magazine/#page/5

For your ease of reference, here is the translated version:

What causes pigment spots to develop?

There are several aggravating factors.

1. Excessive sun exposure: Ultraviolet rays are responsible for every type of pigment spot. They are a source of cutaneous stress and disrupt melanin production, which is the pigment responsible for the skin’s colour and tanning.

2.  Skin ageing: For many women, the pigmentation process is disrupted as they get older. The melanocytes, which are the cells that produce melanin, proliferate and produce excessive amounts of melanin. This over-production leads to an irregular distribution of melanin which accumulates at the surface of the skin. As a result, skin pigmentation becomes uneven and spots form on the skin’s surface.

3. Genetics: We are not all created equal when it comes to pigment spots. Individuals with fair skin are more susceptible. Those with olive skin are not spared either though they tend to spend more time in the sun and often forego protection. Due to prematurely worn-out melanocytes, melanin protection in these individuals also becomes anarchic. They are also usually more prone to developing pregnancy masks.

Other factors that increase UV sensitivity and accelerate the appearance of spots include: hormonal disturbances (pregnancy, menopause, birth control pill, incorrect dosage of hormone replacement therapy) and photo-sensitizing products (certain medications).

What are pigment spots?

Pigment spots develop as melanin travels up through the various skin layers to the surface. The actual spot is an abnormal concentration of melanin in one area. They appear after the melanocytes have been stimulated. This causes them to behave in a disorderly manner and to produce too much melanin which is the brown-coloured pigment that rises to the skin’s surface. Melanin is responsible for our tanned complexions, but spots can develop when an excessive amount of melanin surfaces in a concentrated area. Once stimulated, the process is self-sustaining under the influence of free radicals. The damage caused by sunburn can appear years later in the form of brown spots.

Are there different types of spots?

YES! Hyperpigmentation can take various forms, depending on the trigger.

1. Freckles: Freckles are genetic and are usually seen in people with blonde or red hair, light coloured eyes and a fair complexion. Characterized by small reddish spots with regular contours, they are associated with inflammation and problems with micro-circulation.

2. Sun spots (also known as solar or actinic lentigines): Sun spots are a direct result of long-term sun exposure. They appear on areas of the body exposed to UV rays (face, neck, back of the hands, neckline) and become more prominent in the summer. They reflect the inability of the epidermis to manage the harmful effects of UV rays. People with fair skin are more vulnerable to sun damage and are therefore most commonly affected by lentigines.

3. Age spots (also known as senile letigines): Age spots commonly appear on the areas most exposed to the sun (face, neckline, hands and arms) between the ages of 40 and 50 years. They are associated with a disruption in melanin production. The spots themselves vary between light and dark brown but do not vary with the seasons.

4. Pregnancy mask (or melasma): The pregnancy mask is characterized by brown patches. Although sun exposure is not solely responsible, it can certainly raise one’s risk of developing a pregnancy mask. Associated with hormonal changes, melasma can be triggered by birth control use, pregnancy, menopause and hormone replacement therapy). It is more common in those with olive or darker skin. It typically develops on the forehead and cheeks as well as the upper lip. The patches may lighten during the winter but reappear with sun exposure.

5. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: Following an injury (cut, burn), and infection, a skin reaction to medication or skin disorders such as eczema and acne, the skin may remain darker in the affected areas. This type of hyperpigmentation is seen primarily in those with olive or dark skin that are richer in melanin.

Something to keep in mind: All types of brown spots worsen as a result of unprotected sun exposure. The rise of melanin to the surface of this skin, which results in brown spots, is the skin’s natural self-defence mechanism.

How can YOU prevent spots from developing? It is a constant challenge for beauty care professionals (estheticians, doctors) and consumers. Although there are no medical treatments, there are preventative solutions that are effective in the long-term.

Medical solutions: Lasers, flash lamps, and peels are treatment options offered by medical professionals. These treatments essentially abrade the skin. They are effective but should only be chosen as a last resort due to their aggressive nature. A medical consultation with a doctor however, is essential to rule out skin cancer in the event of a worrisome or suspicious looking spot.

Aesthetic solutions: Estheticians can offer several cosmetic and technical options to fight pigment spots. Phototherapy devices and, green light in particular, are effective weapons that have a direct effect on the colour of spots. Professional beauty salon treatments, which combine professional peels and intense hydration, are a winning strategy when it comes to restoring luminosity and brightness. Regular microdermabrasion sessions will also help prevent these unsightly marks from setting in.

Treatment solutions: Before deciding to undergo a medical procedure and to optimize salon treatments, there are effective cosmetic alternatives worth considering. They are gentle, safe and target melanin production, which makes them ideal for daily, long-term use. These very complete formulas inhibit tyrosine, which is the precursor of melanin, and promote the exfoliation of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. The most commonly used actives are stabilized vitamin C derivatives, to which various other components are added for optimal action.

Opt for brands that offer a range of textures (serums, creams, rich creams) to tailor the products you are using based on the seasons. The fight against spots is won over time!

And lastly, to prevent spots from appearing and to regain a radiant and even complexion, it is important to develop good daily habits such as:

1. Applying an anti-spot treatment daily on the face and neck. Hyperpigmentation is an on-going process that requires daily attention.

2. Protect your skin from the sun by applying a sunscreen with a high SPF.




Darlene Hincks