Have you ever noticed brown spots appearing on your face or skin discolorations? These can be caused by various factors, including sun exposure, medication use, hormone fluctuations, acne, inflammation, skin aging, excessive peeling and more. Let's delve deeper into these blemishes and how you can deal with them.
What is hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a condition in which certain areas of the skin become darker than the surrounding skin. This happens because there is more pigment (melanin production) than normal. This is often in response to triggers such as sunlight, inflammation, hormonal changes or skin damage due to incorrect use of cosmetics, resulting in discolored skin. But spots on the face can also occur with normal skin aging.
There are different types of hyperpigmentation with different causes.
Pigment spots caused by sun
Prolonged sun exposure can lead to pigment buildup, resulting in dark spots on the skin, especially on the forehead, cheeks and nose. Read 10 tips for safe sunbathing here .
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
This occurs after inflammation, such as acne or skin irritations, and often leaves dark spots where the inflammation has occurred.
Hyperpigmentation in dark skin
In people with darker skin tones, the spots are often more intense and can be more difficult to treat.
Hyperpigmentation in pregnancy
Pigment spots can develop, especially during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, under the influence of hormones. This is also called a pregnancy mask because it is often concentrated on the forehead, upper lip and cheeks.
Hormonal pigment spots
For example, using a contraceptive pill can result in pigment spots. Then there is melasma in the face. Melasma is a pigment spot caused by hormone changes. A pigment spot caused by the pill often remains visible after stopping the pill.
Pigment spots peeling
In recent decades, many intense peels for home use have been marketed with a high percentage of BHA and AHA or glycol. At first it may seem that the skin is improving, but with long-term use it is possible that more pigmentation will occur as a result of these peels. The skin is damaged deep into the skin and has not recovered properly. This can occur if, for example, the instructions (staying out of the sun) are not followed properly. Always follow the instructions of skin specialists or instructions for use.
Pigment spots with aging
Age spots occur as a result of skin aging. The older you get, the more spots you get. Heredity also plays a role. Some people get age spots at a relatively younger age, because their origin is in the genes.
Pigment spots caused by sun
Finally, sun exposure is an important factor. The more sunlight your skin has seen, the more and the earlier in your life age spots will appear.
There are 4 types of age spots:
1. Sunspots skin. Lentigo solaris (liver spots)
These age spots are the most common and the best known. They are known as “liver spots” or “sun spots”.
2. Verruca seborrhoica (age warts)
These age spots are usually wart-like or cauliflower-shaped and can sometimes reach large sizes, up to several centimeters in diameter. However, some age warts are flattened and light or dark brown in color and therefore look very similar to liver spots or even normal moles.
3. Senile angiomas (blood blisters, ruby spots)
Unlike liver spots and age warts, these age spots are not brown but red or purple in color. They are also known as blood blisters. The English terms are ruby spots or cherry spots named after the color. These stains are also completely harmless.
4. Idopathic guttate hypomelanosis (white age spots)
A difficult name, but they are better known as “white age spots”. In addition to dark age spots, you also have light or white age spots. We see white round spots of approximately 3-8 mm, mainly on arms and legs and on other sun-exposed areas such as the décolleté. What is striking about these white round spots is that they never merge into larger spots.
Do pigment spots go away on their own?
Once you have these spots, it is very difficult to get rid of them completely because the disruption of pigment takes place deep in the skin. So it is better to prevent pigment spots.
Although it is difficult to completely get rid of hyperpigmentation on your face, here are some tips to reduce it.
Important: If in doubt what exactly these spots are, always consult a doctor. Unfortunately, it is possible that these are not innocent spots, but a form of skin cancer.
Once you're sure it's not skin cancer, there are several ways to tackle and reduce hyperpigmentation.
1. Apply SPF: Protecting your skin from the sun is essential to prevent further pigmentation. On all sunny days, use a good, natural sunscreen with a minimum SPF30 that protects against both UVA and UVB, such as Food for Skin SPF30 .
2. Wear a hat: The sun causes hyperpigmentation to darken, so avoid direct sunlight on your face to keep the spots from darkening.
3. Topical treatments: Hyperpigmentation cream and hyperpigmentation serums that contain ingredients such as retinoids, vitamin C, glycolic acid or niacinamide can help fade pigment spots. All Food for Skin products contain vitamin C.
4. Medical Treatments: For very severe cases, there are treatments such as chemical peels, laser therapy and microdermabrasion that may be recommended by dermatologists. Make sure that you do this at a good institute because this treatment can also cause hyperpigmentation if it is not carried out properly and the aftercare is not followed correctly (for example, staying completely out of the sun for 2 months after treatment).
What to do about pigment spots? Tips for daily care
1. Clean your face regularly with a mild cleanser (preferably without foam!) to remove impurities and keep your skin healthy. For example with the Carrot Cleanser .
2. Use super mild products that won't irritate the skin, especially if you have sensitivity or acne.
3. Use a mild SPF with UVA factor 30 and UVB protection on all sunny days and apply regularly when you are outside. For example, the SPF30 from Food for Skin .
4. Consult a dermatologist for tailor-made advice and a treatment that best suits your skin type and the severity of the pigmentation.
Conclusion what helps against hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation can be a challenge, but with proper care, sun protection and appropriate treatments, it is possible to reduce the spots and allow the skin to heal.
Remember: it is important to be patient as reducing pigmentation is a gradual process. And remember that a healthy lifestyle and good skin care are the basis for strong and radiant skin, regardless of your age.