What Causes Dark Spots?
When considering what causes dark spots on face, you should take into consideration not only sun damage, which is often regarded as the most common cause, but also other factors.
Hyperpigmentation – Those Ugly Dark Spots On Skin! (More specifically Melasma or Lentigos)
The dark spots we get on our skin happen from an irregular distribution of melanin. Either this can result in melasma, which is an uneven production of melanocytes causing light dark spots; or in lentigos (age spots) which are an uneven accumulation of melanocytes in the epidermis resulting in dark spots.
The melanocyte cells are located in the basal cell skin layer. These cells control the making of melanin, which gives each person their coloring. The rate of melanin production differs between each person being greater in dark skinned individuals.
Outside factors also affect the production of melanin, which may cause dark spots:
- Sun exposure
- Certain medications & chemicals
- Hormones – pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills
- Underlying health problems – nervous disorders
Melasma produces irregular, pale dark blotches that usually appear on the nose, cheeks, forehead, and upper chest. On darker skin, the blotches show up lighter than the surrounding skin. Melasma is common during pregnancy, menopause and in woman taking oral contraceptives. Sun exposure will make the dark spots worse.
Lentigos, also known as age or liver spots, are flat, light reddish-dark spots that appear on the face, throat, chest, back of hands, upper back and shoulders. Lentigos typically show up on skin, which is repeatedly exposed to sunlight. The ultraviolet sunlight causes overstimulation of the melanocyte cells in the skin. The cells clump together and show up as age spots.
Lentigos spots can vary in size from small to a couple of inches in width. They happen more often on light-skinned people and can start to be noticeable as early as the age of 30.
Even though both of these melanin-produced spots are harmless, they are unattractive to most people. So what gets rid of them?
Over the counter products that can be used to erase dark spots on skin are:
Bleaching (depigmenting) products which include-
Hydroquinone (use only on fair to light skin tones – possibly irritating)
- Kojic Acid (an alternative for darker skin tones)
- Azelaic Acid
- Ellagic Acid
- Retinoids (Retinoic Acid)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Bleaching products work by inhibiting the production of the enzyme tyrosinase, which in turn reduces melanin. Over time, the dark spots will fade. Bleaching products will not lighten skin beyond its’ own natural color, so do not worry about going to light.
Retinoids, Vitamin C, and Alpha Hydroxy Acids can slowly fade dark spots on their own. However, they are best used in conjunction with bleaching products since they will boost the overall effectiveness of the treatment.
Always use adequate sun protection when using any of these ingredients. Your skin will be extra sensitive to the sun. In addition, hydroquinone will be rendered useless if you do not use sunscreen.
Options that are available through a skin care professional are:
Laser Treatments (less damaging to skin)
Chemical Face Peels
Freezing the area with liquid nitrogen (may cause white spots)
Note: we recommend to use Ginseng Acne Cream which is a natural remedy for dark spots… Read more…