There are many types of pigmentation and hyperpigmentation spots, which is why it is very important to get a correct diagnosis in order to be able to apply the right treatment. Often these spots are seen only in the UV spectrum. We recommend that you schedule a free consultation to find out more about your skin problems.
The factors that influence the appearance of the spots can be genetic, endocrine or environmental. These factors influence the quantity, type and distribution of melanin in the skin, hair and eyes. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to the skin. It plays a protective role against harmful factors and helps regulate body temperature.
In most cases, in the affected areas we find a greater quantity of melanin. It may be excessively deposited in the superficial layer of the skin (epidermis) or in the deep layer of the skin (dermis). For this reason, some spots are easier to treat than others.
Pigmentation and hyperpigmentation spots usually occur due to prolonged exposure to the sun, without sun protection (regardless of weather and season), aging and hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy).
Regardless of the type of hyperpigmentation, the production mechanism is the same. Epiderma, the superficial layer of the skin, is based on three types of cells: basal, keratinocytes and melanocytes. Melanin is produced by melanocytes, whose number is about the same in all races, but personal with dark skin have much larger melanosomes (granulations inside melanocytes).
The most important external harmful factor that melanin protects us from is solar radiation. Thus, the more we expose ourselves to the sun, the more stimulated the activity of melanocytes (those that secrete melanin) intensifying the skin color and increasing the risk of pigmentation spots.
Why don’t we all react the same way? Because there are other factors to consider: photosensitivity, the natural aging process, drugs (only some), contraceptives, pregnancy, very unbalanced diets, bacteria (pathogens), the use of wax epilators, clothes and towels made of synthetic materials hard, lack of sunscreen, etc.
Types of spots and causes
Hyperpigmentation can be classified according to several factors: by their cause (melasma, chloasma, lentigo, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), by the affected area (melanism, ocular melanosis, smoker’s melanosis, oral melanosis, Riehl’s melanosis) or by the spreading area (localized or generalized).
Stains appear in areas exposed to the sun, especially on the face. There are brown spots of different intensities, with clear boundaries, but irregular shapes. It is usually triggered in women between the ages of 30-55. Men account for only 10% of cases, women being more vulnerable. Although we know several factors that determine melasma, we cannot clearly identify a prime suspect. Genetic predisposition and exposure to solar radiation seem to influence the most, other factors being pregnancy, hormonal therapies, certain cosmetic products, emotional factors, anticonvulsant drugs and endocrinopathies. Depending on the triggering factors, the stains may disappear by themselves, especially in the case of hormonal problems, however, certain types of spots may persist for years or the rest of their lives.
It is often confused with melasma. It is caused by hormonal imbalances and usually occurs during pregnancy, also called pregnancy mask. About 70% of pregnant women appear to be affected during pregnancy, with the risk increasing with each subsequent pregnancy. Attention should also be given to oral contraceptives that may cause hormonal imbalances, especially those containing: stilphostrol, implanon, honvol, etonogestrel or diethylbestrol. This type of stains evolves gradually, the colors varying from a natural bronze color to shades of brown, rarely to black or blue.
Often, this type is confused with freckles, but stains of this type do not turn dark when exposed to the sun. We find them more often in people who have been exposed to the sun for a long time. Appear on the hands, arms, face and neck. They have dimensions between 5 mm and 20 mm.
The main causes are: infections, dermatophytosis, viral exanthems (rubella, measles, epidemic parotiditis), allergic reactions caused by insect bites, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, hypersensitivity reactions induced by certain drugs. Acne, atopic dermatitis and bacterial infection are the main factors that trigger this type of blemishes, being among the most difficult to treat. Their color may be tan or dark brown, and if they form at the dermis they may be blue-gray. The faster it is treated from the onset, the easier it is to get rid of them, however, some spots require a very long time to remove.
OTHER TYPES OF FOOT ON THE SKIN
Melanism. It is considered to be the opposite of albinism, because the excess black pigmentation of the hairs and certain areas of the body appears, just as in albinism. Ocular melanosis. It occurs mainly in the population of color. It is the result of an excessive accumulation of melanin in the annexes of the eye or ocular membranes. Melanosis of the smoker and oral. It is hyperpigmentation of the oral mucosa (gums, inside the cheeks, sky of the mouth or larynx). Oral melanosis resembles that of the smoker, but occurs in non-smokers of color. Riehl’s melancholy. It is a form of contact dermatitis, but acre also manifests as hyperpigmentation, in addition to itching and erythema.
Tips for stain prevention and skin maintenance
- Call a specialist. Before calling for treatment, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist or specialist for a correct diagnosis of the types of blemishes.
- Do not wait to see the pigmentation spots on the face to make a bleaching treatment. Most women (over 30 years) can have these spots, without knowing it, as they are often visible only in the UV light spectrum.
- Use a professional sunscreen with UVA and UVB even if the face is only moderate. Doubtful quality creams can create long-term problems, instead of protecting the skin. It is almost impossible to get rid of blemishes without protecting the skin with a sunscreen.
- Apply cream with protective factor in time. A fairly common mistake is to give yourself the cream that contains the protective factor, even before leaving the house or not giving up at all, later believing that it is enough once. Apply the cream for at least 15 minutes before leaving. Specialists recommend that we give cream again every 2-3 hours or when we go out again and expose ourselves.
- Avoid the sun between 12 and 4pm. Especially in the summer time, the radiation is the strongest. If you can not avoid being exposed to the sun, use a cream with a higher protective factor than usual.
- It does not give up, so easily, the creams used against the pigmentation spots. It can take months to get rid of stains. In the first 6 months after the appearance of the stains, their elimination time is less than 2 months. So make sure the spots are still young. It is also valid for treatments at the salon!
- Not all stains can be treated. It is very important to understand every type of stain you have, and for this it is necessary to visit a dermatologist. Some spots can only be removed with a special laser, others can be removed with non-invasive or semi-invasive treatments, and others cannot be removed, in the best case they can be improved.
- Avoid too strong scrubs for your skin type. They can be too harsh for your skin and can inflam the tissues, causing accelerated melanin production.
- Attention to acne (baskets). After a pustule disappears, a brown spot may appear in its place. Just like I said, the skin, if attacked, responds to increased melanin production, increasing the risk of blemishes.
- Keep an eye on hormones, especially when you are pregnant and taking contraceptives. Even if the risk of stains increases significantly, these spots will not immediately emerge, but only after exposure to the sun. Therefore, be very careful, use professional creams with a minimum protection factor SPF 30. Avoid doubtful quality creams that can lead to various undesirable side effects.
- Find out about treatments. It is good to know what treatments exist in the salons and clinics in you in the city and which ones are suitable for you, after consulting with a specialist. It is important to know what products, devices and techniques will be used, after all, this will depend on the success of the treatment and the return on investment.