Age spots, liver spots, freckles, sun spots and pregnancy mask are all terms that are used to describe the symptoms of hyperpigmentation. Your skin contains melanocyte cells that produce melanin which gives our skin its color.
When our skin produces too much melanin this leads to hyperpigmentation of the skin.
Hyperpigmentation affects men and women of all ethnic groups. It’s most common in middle age and beyond.
There are a number of things that can cause hyper-pigmentation, including:
- Overexposure to the sun
- Tanning beds
- Birth control or hormone replacement therapy
- Post inflammatory
- Freckles for fair skin types
- Hormonal changes
- Acne scarring
- Certain medications such as antibiotics, hormone treatments and anti-seizure medications
- Addison disease
One very important note – always have uneven moles checked out! These could be signs of a far more serious condition called melanoma (skin cancer).
So how do you go about getting rid of these spots?
There are many treatments available, but not all of them are effective, and some may even make the condition worse!
- Getting a prescription for topical application which contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) that exfoliates the skin quicker than it’s normal process. That comes with it’s own set of side affects and may not always be effective.
- Nonablative professional procedures such as deep skin peels, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy which targets only the dark areas are used under strict supervision with a trained physician or laser skin resurfacing. All very aggressive, very expensive and again not always the best choice for all skin types and may lead to scarring.
- Spa treatments are a very popular option for majority of the population. There are many very effective options such as microdermabrasion, Oxygen Fusion facials and more natural skin lightener products. Your results will be best with an experienced practitioner.
- Over the counter remedies are often money down the drain – they usally the come in a very low dosage and without direction of a professional, they can cause skin damage.
- There are also many “DIY” remedies but for the same reasons as the OTC remedies these are not usually effective and are often dangerous.
- As a licensed esthetician, I recommend a professional, non-aggressive treatment that is tailored to your skin type and takes into account other factors including your current skin care regimen and other skin issues that may be present.
After successfully getting rid of hyperpigmentation, it is now important to focus on preventing the condition from returning. The easiest way to do this is limit exposure to UVA/UVB rays, tanning beds and have good sunscreen protection.