Those pesky brown spots... one of the most common complaints I receive is the concern over skin discoloration. I get it, I've experienced it myself. My lovely discoloration even gave me the courtesy of looking exactly like a mustache over my upper lip.
There are a lot of reasons why discoloration happens. The sun is one of the biggest culprits and is a major cause of dark spots and discoloration. During the summer months, I hear about sun spots almost daily from clients. Hormones from things like pregnancy, birth control or autoimmune issues. Genetics can also be a cause of dark spots, some people are just more prone to getting them due to this factor.
What are some of the types of skin discoloration?
Melasma, sometimes also called chloasma, is a condition where tan or brown patches appear on the body, typically on the face. They can often be triggered by hormonal changes, and frequently occur in pregnant women for this reason. Melasma can also be caused by contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy and excessive sun exposure. While it’s more common in women, men can still suffer from melasma.
Sunspots are spots on the skin that are darker than your natural skin tone. They may be slightly raised and even a little bumpy. Essentially, sunspots are skin damage caused by exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The sunspots usually appear in areas regularly exposed to sunlight like the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. Sunspots tend to increase with age as the skin has a harder time repairing the damage of ultraviolet light.
What can you do to fix skin discoloration?
- Topical Creams - This is what I opted for when I saw a discoloration which looked liked a mustache forming above my lips. I called my dermatologist and he prescribed me a topical cream called Tri-Luma, which is an FDA-approved melasma treatment with 3 active ingredients, topical therapy for the treatment of the dark spots associated with moderate-to-severe facial melasma. I used it for two weeks and my problem was gone.
- Cosmelan - Cosmelan is a chemical peel treatment for particularly stubborn and dense pigmentation. Cosmelan’s ingredients work very quickly, resulting in a fast, effective blending and elimination of undesirable pigment. Cosmelan regulates the melanin activity, causing the pigment producing cells to slow down their over-production and function in a more uniform way. It's highly effective but a bit costly. It does a great job of getting into the deep layers of the skin.
- IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) photofacial - This is a non-invasive laser treatment that uses wavelength technology which targets redness, brown spots, broken capillaries and uneven skin tone. It takes a series of about four treatments to achieve maximum results, this treatment offers major improvement to skin’s tone and texture, creating an even, smooth surface
- Green LED Light Therapy - LED Light therapy offers a powerful yet gentle means for obtaining more beautiful skin. The skin responds quickly and very positively to the different colors in the spectrum. Green LED light therapy is great for helping to lighten age spots, and uneven pigmentation due to sun exposure. Most cases of skin hyper-pigmentation even out over time from the use of LED light therapy. I do this at my skin clinic and it's a very popular treatment with my clients. I usually pair it with some sort of light peel before or after the lights depending on the skin type.
- Also, I feel like this goes without saying but I'm going to say it anyway. Wear SPF everyday, rain or shine. You can't help genetics or if your hormones are off, but you certainly can help prevent unnecessary discoloration from sun exposure.