You may have noticed the appearance of brown spots on your skin, especially if you are a woman over the age of 30. Take this problem head on!
Why do brown spots appear?
People sometimes see age spots on their face, neck, neckline or hands that they deem unsightly. These spots are often simply associated with aging. Although they are harmless, some people still find them unpleasant.
Skin pigmentation disorders are common. Since they have no serious consequences other than aesthetic inconveniences, there is no cause for worry. However, small unwanted spots make many people sigh, especially women, who are more often affected by them than men. Yet, there are ways to prevent or reduce them.
Hyperpigmentation becomes visible on the areas most exposed to the sun: hands, face, neck and neckline, for example. The appearance of small age spots is one of the first signs of aging skin: over time, the skin is no longer able to effectively counteract the effects of the sun. Again, these are some of the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays.
Age spots are a sign of a disruption in the production of melanin. Melanin is a pigment produced by skin cells called melanocytes in response to sun exposure; it usually serves to protect the skin and is also responsible for tanning. In hyperpigmentation, it is produced in excess and migrates to the surface of the skin, where it can form a visible patch.
What is the pregnancy mask?
Also called "melasma" or "chloasma", the pregnancy mask is often observed on different parts of the face of pregnant women (e.g.: forehead, cheeks, upper lip). It is caused by the sun, whose effects on the skin are increased by an abundance of hormones produced during pregnancy. It is caused by the same hormonal change as the infamous brown line that appears on the belly of some future mothers. Therefore, pregnant women should adequately protect their skin against the sun's rays throughout their pregnancy.
However, it is not necessary to be pregnant to have melasma. This skin condition can also be triggered by taking certain hormones (e.g. birth control pills, hormonal contraceptives) or can even occur in men.
The pregnancy mask usually disappears within six months following childbirth. Speak to a healthcare professional if it persists.
How to avoid being indisposed by brown spots
While your age, genetics and hormonal changes may be partly responsible for the appearance of age spots, certain lifestyle factors can also contribute to uneven skin tone.
Here are some tips to help prevent or reverse this skin problem:
- Cleanse your skin morning and night with a very mild product.
- Apply a moisturizer to your facial skin daily.
- Use a quality sunscreen every day.
- Limit sun exposure as much as possible:
- Avoid exposure to sunlight between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., as it is most intense during this time.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and clothing that protects your skin.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Treat brown spots with a corrective serum. There is a wide range of effective skin lightening products on the market, including lotions, essences, serums, emulsions and creams. This type of treatment can reduce age spots at all stages of development and even out the skin tone. Patience is required, as it takes several weeks to take effect. Apply daily for best results.
- Consult a dermatologist if the measures taken to counter the problem prove unsuccessful. Various treatments are available, such as laser, pulsed light, a peel and cryotherapy. Before treating any skin problem, it is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis. If in doubt, consult a doctor promptly.
- Whatever treatment you choose, always use a sunscreen to get the maximum benefit.
- Ask your cosmetician to recommend non-irritating makeup products, such as a quality foundation, which can help hide spots and make your complexion even and radiant.
Speak to your Jean Coutu affiliated pharmacist or cosmetician for glowing skin.