Seeing Spots: Dealing with Skin Discolorations

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Seeing Spots: Dealing with Skin Discolorations and Age Spots

Skin discolorations and so-called "age spots" can be troubling, especially if you haven't had them before – making you wish you had a magic skin "eraser" to just wipe them away. The skin goes through many changes as it ages, due to both genetics and external factors such as sun exposure, and various patches, spots, scars or discolorations can appear and deepen over time. Like wrinkles, they are simply a fact of life as we grow older.

Most skin discolorations, freckles and age or "liver" spots are harmless, even though they can be annoying. But you should always err or on the side of safety – if you notice any new, irregularly shaped or rapidly growing moles or other discolorations, have them checked immediately by a dermatologist to be sure they are not cancerous or require removal.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 1 2 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. Melanomas might appear on the skin suddenly without warning, but they also can develop on an existing mole, so check for them regularly, especially if you spend or have spent a lot of time in the sun without protection. Early detection is crucial to successful treatment and may just save your life.

Non-cancerous skin discolorations, age spots, or blotches can occur for various reasons including hormonal changes, pregnancy, sun damage, skin irritation, trauma or simple aging. Although you may not be able to completely "erase" all of them, the good news is that most discolorations and spots can be lightened, covered or removed with the latest in medical and skincare technology.

Age Spots

Age or liver spots (medically termed lentigines) tend to emerge as we get older – most commonly on the backs of the hands, the face and the back. Age spots are simply benign lesions that occur on the sun-exposed areas of the body. Since they often look like melanoma, they may require evaluation. If they are pervasive, prescription treatment may be most effective; but many of today’s over-the-counter anti-aging skincare products, from cleansers to serums to moisturizers, contain brighteners to help reduce the appearance of age spots and other "blotches."

Try Photodynamic Therapy age spot eraser & skin brightener

Melasma (a.k.a. The Mask of Pregnancy)

Along with every other part of a woman's body, pregnancy can affect the skin – sometimes producing a patchy skin discoloration across the face called melasma (literally meaning "dark skin"). This is due to increased levels of estrogen resulting in overactive pigment producing melanocytes. Though it is the most common cause, you don’t have to be pregnant to develop melasma. Birth control pills have also been known to cause it. An estimated six million women throughout the U.S. are currently affected by this distressing, albeit cosmetic concern.

Don't expect your melasma and age spots to ever disappear overnight. Most skin brightening and lightening treatments provide long-term results in six to 12 months of continued use.

If you experience melasma and age spots, the single most important step is to avoid sun exposure at all costs. Stay in the shade or shade yourself with an umbrella, hat or visor and protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays with a true broad spectrum SPF 30 like one of DERMAdoctor's varied sunscreens daily.

Exfoliation can also be a useful tool in hastening the resolution of skin discoloration. It works to remove superficial pigmented skin cells. Try DERMAdoctor Physical Chemistry facial microdermabrasion + multiacid chemical peel. Used as tolerated several times weekly, it helps dermatologist-recommended skin therapies to provide deeper, more thorough results while it helps to reduce fine lines/wrinkles, evens out skin tone and reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores.

Amy Burger
DERMAdoctor Staff Writer

This content is sponsored by DERMAdoctor. The author receives compensation for its creation. All content is the legal copyright of DERMAdoctor, Inc, and it may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.

The information provided is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal or other professional advice.

This post was posted in Articles, Exfoliation, Discoloration and was tagged with discoloration, age spots, sunscreen, UV light, brightener

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