Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Understanding Sun Spots

This is the time of year that people start asking about pigmentation. We have been worshipping the sun and loving every minute, until it shows up on our faces. (I am choosing to omit tanning beds, because I know none of you are careless enough for that one! hahahahaha)

Discolored skin is one of the most common conditions treated in medspas everywhere. Regardless of how much we protect our skin, that UV light is strong and it still leaves a mark on our skin. Our skin also has a memory and the damage done in past years can start to surface as early as age 30.

Uneven tone or dark patches seem like the same thing, but to the trained eye, they are not all equal. There are 4 different categories of hyperpigmentation:
^This is Dr. Obagi's image explaining pigmentation ^

UV Induced is sun damage. It is created from years of sun damage. It can first presents itself as little freckles that grow with time and become "sun spots" or they can show up later in life as if you now have freckles. They start to pop up later in life without warning. They are reflected in the image above as brown spots.
<Sun Damage

Melasma, commonly referred to as pregnancy mask, has a quick onset. Literally one day it is not there, the next day you are on a boat in Cancun and at the end of that glorious day you look in the mirror to see that you have stains on your face that won't go away. It is the result of hormones and sun exposure. Birth control or pregnancy plus sun exposure can trigger this into action.

My sun damage!
Look at the concentrated spots, like above the lip or mid forehead. That's melisma.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is the purple or brown color that lingers following a scar or any damage to the skin, whether it is superficial or deep. Darker skin tones are more prone to this, but we all get a little bit of it from time to time.  Think monster pimple that took forever to heal. That's it!

Chemically induced photodamage is when your skin comes into contact with a light sensitizing chemical and is discolored after sun exposure. This is typically seen on the neck from perfumes.

Ok, guys! Next post will be all about how to treat it! Have a great week!