How to Manage Brown Spots
- Posted on: Aug 21 2017
WHAT CAUSES BROWN SPOTS ON THE SKIN?
Skin gets its colour from a pigment called melanin. Special cells in the skin (melanocytes) make melanin. Patches of skin become darker when melanocytes produce excessive melanin which migrates to the upper layers. Sun exposure, aging, and damage to the skin can all cause melanocytes to produce extra melanin. The result is a pigment disorder called hyperpigmentation, which is also known as brown spots.
ARE ALL BROWN SPOTS THE SAME?
No, all brown spots are not the same. A physician needs to carefully assess your skin to establish what type of brown spots you have. The majority are harmless, but occasionally a skin cancer can develop in a previously benign brown spot. Some brown spots are in fact melasma which is pigment that is deeper and requires specialized treatment. Acne scarring or an injury to the skin in some darker skinned people will leave brown pigment which is called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This too requires special treatment.
CAN BROWN SPOTS BE PREVENTED?
As our skin ages, damage to the cells will occur. Brown spots can be minimized by the judicious use of sunblock during the day. A physical block containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is the best for prevention. The use of sun protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat will also help.
CAN BROWN SPOTS BE TREATED?
Yes, brown spots can be treated. Depending on what type of brown areas you have, there are many effective treatments.
1) Topical Creams containing effective agents such as Retinol, Vitamin C, Kojic acid, and some plant based ingredients, if applied daily, can be very effective in treating established brown areas.
2) Chemical Peels containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’S) will assist greatly in reducing brown areas. Contrary to the name, the skin is not ‘peeled’, but gently exfoliated which lifts pigment.
3) Laser Therapy – Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and laser therapy can very effectively treat brown areas but the type of pigment you have must be correctly diagnosed first. IPL therapy can make melasma worse and should only be treated by qualified personnel. Viva Medical Aesthetics has both IPL and laser treatments available (Cutera Excel V) to effectively treat brown areas.
Effective Diagnosis Is Your First Step to Treatment.
Posted in: Skin Conditions