May 11, 2017

Stop Those SPOTS!

I have alllllllways suffered from hyperpigmentation.  And, being breakout prone it seems like I will get a bump that goes away in a few days but the dark mark that it leaves behind lasts FOREVER! Hyperpigmentation is an overproduction of melanin.  It is darkened, flat patches of skin that are dark in color and vary in shape in size.  It can be triggered by different factors such as sun exposure, genetic, age, hormones and trauma to the skin such as an injury or inflammation.  Many patients who have come to me for treatment for hyperpigmentation have told me that when they get a tan or lots of sun the dark spots “go away”.  SO false!  Sun exposure is the cause of hyperpigmentation.  The sun is what triggers that over production of melanin.  So, once the sun exacerbates those dark spots it can cause freckles, age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and makes them even darker.

Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation that is brought on by female hormones.  Women who have been pregnant or taken birth control often experience Melasma which resembles a face mask.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for this but, avoiding sun exposure and using a very good broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high spf can keep it at bay.  Although it is more prevalent amongst people with darker skin tones I have known a lot of patients with fair skin tones to suffer from melasma.    

Dealing with acne, eczema or psoriasis and any type of trauma to the skin can cause the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  A lot of times they will leave a very dark and discolored mark after the healing process has occurred.  There are creams such as hydroquinone and tretinoin cream that lighten the dark spots that must be prescribed by a dermatologist.  You don’t want to use these creams for a long period of time.  Some research has found that they can thin your skin.

If the hyperpigmentation is driving you crazy, like it does me, I would suggest doing a series of chemical peels. The peel removes the surface layers of skin which will help to lighten the uneven tone.   About 2-3 days after you have the treatment the skin will begin to peel leaving you with new, smooth, evenly pigmented skin.  I love it!  My skin feels like a baby’s bottom and has a gorgeous glow.  A series of 6 treatments are suggested ever 3-4 weeks.  You can’t forget to use that sunscreen though…when you are going through you treatments your skin will be sensitive.

After doing some research I found this spf by Elta MD Skincare.  It is specifically for acne prone skin with UVA & UVB protection and will help to protect your skin from getting new hyperpigmentation and fade out the old!

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