PIGMENTATION AND BLEMISHES
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Sun tanning or simply tanning is the process whereby skin color is darkened or tanned. It is most often a result of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight.
The most common risk of exposure to ultraviolet radiation is sunburn, the speed and severity of which vary among individuals. This can be alleviated at least to some extent by the prior application of a suitable-strength sunscreen, which will also hinder the tanning process due to the blocking of UV light.
Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is known to cause skin cancer, make skin age and wrinkle faster, mutate DNA, and impair the immune system.
POST ACNE MARKS
Hyperpigmentation occurs when a dark spot appears in place of a pimple that had disappeared. People with darker skin tones are more at risk of developing hyperpigmentation marks.
The first tip is to manage acne to prevent the formation of hyperpigmentation spots following the disappearance of pimples. Some spots may fade without treatment, but this can take 6–12 months. Hyperpigmentation that is deep in the dermis of the skin can be more difficult to treat and possibly even permanent. Depending on the severity of hyperpigmentation or the response to topical treatments, dermatologists may recommend surgical or nonsurgical therapies.
Chemical peels are one of the most common nonsurgical cosmetic procedures done by dermatologists, and hyperpigmentation is the most likely reason for using them.Other therapies for hyperpigmentation may include laser and light-based therapies.
FRECKLES AND LENTIGINES
Freckles are small brown spots on your skin, often in areas that get sun exposure. In most cases, freckles are harmless. They form as a result of overproduction of melanin, which is responsible for skin and hair color (pigmentation). Overall, freckles get dark from ultraviolet (UV) radiation stimulation.
Lentigines, or liver spots, are benign lesions that occur on the sun-exposed areas of the body. The backs of hands and face are common areas. The lesions tend to increase in number with age, making them common among the middle age and older population. They can vary in size from 0.2 to 2 cm.
Melasma is a common skin problem. The condition causes dark, discolored patches on your skin. It’s also called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” when it occurs in pregnant women. The condition is much more common in women than men, though men can get it too. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90 percent of people who develop melasma are women. It typically occurs on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other areas of your body that are often exposed to sun can also develop melasma.
Brownish colored patches usually appear on the
Bridge of the nose
Neck and forearms. The skin discoloration doesn’t do any physical harm, but you may feel self-conscious about the way it looks.
It isn’t totally clear what causes melasma. Darker-skinned individuals are more at risk than those with fair skin. Estrogen and progesterone sensitivity are also associated with the condition. This means birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy can all trigger melasma. Stress and thyroid disease are also thought to be causes of melasma.
Additionally, sun exposure can cause melasma because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment (melanocytes). For some women, melasma disappears on its own. This typically occurs when it’s caused by pregnancy or birth control pills.
There are creams that can lighten the skin. If these don’t work, chemical peels and microdermabrasion are possible options. These treatments strip away the top layers of skin and may help lighten dark patches.
These procedures don’t guarantee that melasma won’t come back, and some cases of melasma can’t be completely lightened. You might have to return for follow-up visits and stick to certain skin treatment practices to reduce the risk of the melasma returning. These include minimizing your sun exposure and wearing sunscreen daily.
While not all cases of melasma will clear up with treatment, there are things you can do to make sure the condition doesn’t get worse and to minimize the appearance of the discoloration. These include:
- Makeup to cover areas of discoloration
- Taking prescribed medication
- Sunscreen application every day with SPF 50
- Wearing a wide-brimmed hat that shields or provides shade for your face
- Wearing protective clothing is especially important if you’ll be in the sun for an extended period of time.