Our skin, in a way, clothes us. Like our garments, over time, it accumulates spots that can become unsightly. Let’s look at this phenomenon closely!
Did you say “dark spots?”
Have you ever had a consultation with a professional, whether in healthcare, finance, or politics, without understanding anything of the message? What is more frustrating than to have a simple idea explained with complex words! To make sure that it doesn’t happen in this case, here is a list of expressions for different kinds of brown spots on the skin:
- dark patches;
- lentigo maligna;
- liver spots;
- age spots;
- mask of pregnancy;
Let’s admit that it’s strange to use so many elegant words to describe a phenomenon with a reputation for being less so! Also, dark spots rank third on the list of women’s beauty concerns after wrinkles and sagging skin. Luckily, dark spots pose no danger to health.
When the skin is capricious
Why do these spots appear? The skin produces a substance called melanin, which is responsible for pigmentation. In other words, melanin is the skin’s pigment. When the quantity and concentration of the pigment is unequal on the surface of the skin, it results in uneven colour. The imbalance in the production and distribution of pigmentation is primarily caused by:
- the sun;
- hormones (estrogens);
- certain medications.
When dark spots appear during pregnancy, they can disappear at delivery. In some cases, they may persist for several years.
How to prevent dark spots?
The sun is the main culprit behind the formation of dark spots. Any action to protect your skin from the sun is the best way to avoid the appearance or minimize the aggravation of these spots. Don’t hesitate to wear your most beautiful accessories to protect yourself: hat, sunglasses, and umbrella! The moment you stick your head outdoors, even in the shade, it is essential to apply a sunscreen against UVA and UVB rays. It must have an SPF of at least 30. Flee from tanning salons. If not, you will expose yourself to rays that are more powerful than the midday sun… and these artificial rays can wreak havoc on your skin.
Be realistic. You can’t change your genes or your age! If your dark spots bother you, here are a few tips to help you alleviate the problem:
- Stop smoking. Cigarettes not only lead to the appearance of patches on your skin, but also produce a number of other obvious effects. They make your skin dull and accelerate its ageing, among other things.
- Keep your skin moisturized. Drink lots of water, but most importantly, apply a moisturizer every day.
- A wide range of skin lightening products are available over-the-counter: cleansers, corrective and anti-wrinkle creams, moisturizers, etc. When used daily, they will contribute to a more even and brighter skin tone.
- When you buy a skincare product, always consult your pharmacist or beautician to help you choose a product that fits your needs and budget.
- For stubborn spots, see your doctor or dermatologist. After a medical evaluation, treatment might be suggested (skin lightening products under prescription, laser, peeling, etc.) to alleviate the specific type of dark spots that you have.
- If you think that the appearance of your dark spots is the side-effect of a medication that you’re taking, speak to your pharmacist or your doctor about it. They will be able to assess the cause-and-effect link and tell you whether to continue or stop the medication.
- For any dark spot that changes in appearance, see your doctor. The same applies to a mole: if it changes its colour, form, size, thickness, or appearance, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible to make sure that it does not represent a more serious problem such as skin cancer.
Even if they are not dangerous, dark spots can be a nuisance. But whether we like them or not, they are simply the imprints that life leaves behind in its course…
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