While many women desire a lighter skin tone, women with naturally fair skin paradoxically expose their skin to the sun to achieve the opposite result. However, exposing the skin to sunlight is not without consequences.
For one thing, it accelerates its ageing; then, it can also promote the formation of pigment spots, which also add years.
The outer layer of the skin contains, among other things, the so-called melanocytes that form the skin pigment, which, together with the skin cells, are responsible for the colouring of the relevant part of the skin.
Sunlight increases the activity and the number of these cells, which leads to an overproduction of skin pigment, which then reaches the surrounding skin cells and darkens the skin.
However, it is a very complex process that is also significantly influenced by hormones, proteins, enzymes, and genes, which can also cause various disorders, including pigmentation disorders, also known as pigment spots or hyperpigmentation.
Most forms of hyperpigmentation are caused by the overproduction of melanin (skin pigment) and its travel and storage in the skin, where it can form brownish-black spots.
The basic types of pigment spots
Solar lentigo – pigment spots induced by UV rays. They appear mainly on the back of the hands, face, décolletage or back and are primarily an aesthetic problem. Their number and size increase with age. Dark spots can also be accompanied by white spots called actinic hypomelanosis.
Endocrine hyperpigmentation – usually occurs in women with darker skin (phototype III and IV) during pregnancy or hormone treatment. Hormones play a significant role here, along with heredity and UV rays. Doctors call these spots melasma, which most often appears on the forehead, cheeks, nose or chin.
Metabolic hyperpigmentation – excessive pigment production can also occur when certain metals are deposited in the skin. For example, if there is excessive iron in the body.
Deficient hyperpigmentation – a deficiency of vitamin A, C, B3 or B12 in the body can also be behind pigmentation disorders.
Hyperpigmentation is caused by toxic products or medications – most common heavy metals, tobacco or medications.
Hyperpigmentation due to sequential photosensitisation – hyperpigmentation can also occur if the skin, after exposure to the sun, comes into contact with a plant or spray fragrance that contains essential oils rich in natural chemical compounds called psoralens. Hyperpigmentation then appears on the neck, nape, hands and ears.
Pigment spots on the face, neck or back of the hand
The least cosmetically acceptable hyperpigmentation is known as melasma or chloasma uterine. They appear mainly on the face, neck, and low-necked.
They are predominantly brown to grey-brown, the shade of pigmentation being influenced by the depth of deposition of the skin dye. The formation of these spots is influenced by UV radiation, hormonal influences, and genetic disposition.
Melasma is induced by both UVA and UVB radiation, and the same is true of artificial radiants in tanning beds. The formation of hyperpigmentation is further promoted by elevated levels of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.
The first symptoms are therefore often observed during pregnancy. It has been reported that melasma affects 50-70% of pregnant women and during the use of hormonal contraceptives or menopause when using hormone replacement.
How to prevent pigment spots
Pigment spots can disappear independently, especially if this is due to hormonal changes (e.g. during pregnancy) or due to certain medications, etc.
In most cases, however, they persist for months or even years. Therefore, it is much better to prevent pigment spots and, if possible, delay their appearance as much as possible.
The basic steps in preventing the appearance of spots include protecting the skin from dangerous sunlight. It is a good idea to use skincare products with high-quality UV filters on the face, neck, and the outside of the hands.
The skin already reacts to deficient levels of UV radiation. That’s why women suffering from hyperpigmentation have to think about protecting their skin at all times.
Pigment spots are caused by UVB rays and in some form by UVA rays, which threaten them all year round, as even cold light can activate melanin production.
The following steps should be to quit smoking cigarettes, hormonal contraception or hormone replacement.
What to do when they appear
It’s a good idea not to put off dealing with pigment spots. The first step is to rule out the cause of the pigmentation. This should be followed by external skincare to help reduce pigment formation and its deposition in the skin, then year-round protection from UV rays.
If the spots are not too pronounced and are not deposited deep in the skin, it is sufficient to use a suitable dermocosmetic with a bleaching effect to disrupt pigment formation. In addition to skin creams, depigmenting products such as make-up remover or serum are also practical.
Products containing fruit acids or AHAs are excellent. However, women should know that the desired result usually does not appear immediately, but even with regular home care, only after several weeks. It is, therefore, sometimes better to support home care with professional treatment.
Natural products or lemon juice can also help, which, when applied regularly twice a day on the skin, can promote the fading of spots.
Whatever treatment you choose, however, you must always make sure you have sufficient photoprotection afterwards. After applying bleaching products, including lemon juice, the skin is all the more sensitive to sunlight.
Experts also often recommend a chemical peel, which is used to cause the skin’s surface layers to peel away, resulting in the subsequent regeneration of the skin. Some centres offer more comprehensive treatments to thoroughly cleanse the skin, nourish it perfectly, and activate the skin’s natural mechanisms.
According to the following, deep cleansing of the skin is supported by oxygen therapy, radiofrequency restoration of collagen with elastin, and ultrasonic injection of nutritional serum, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamins, and other substances individual needs of the skin.
If none of the above methods works, special laser treatment can help, where a laser beam shoots the pigmented spot into microscopic particles, which gradually wash the white blood cells out of the body. But even this procedure must be repeated several times.