Brown spots, sun spots, age spots, liver spots: you’ve probably heard dark spots called many different things. Some of the most frequently asked questions I get are related to the dark spots people find on their face and hands. What are they? Will they turn into liver spots like on my grandmother’s hands? More importantly, how can I get rid of dark spots?
So the dark spots you see on your hands and face are probably from sun damage—over exposure to the sun where your melanin has rushed in to try and protect the skin. Remember, melanin, the pigment in our skin that protects us from the sun’s rays, is our own natural sunscreen.
The whiter your skin, the more likely you are to produce freckles, dark spots and sun damage. So if you’re born with fair skin, which doesn’t tan and burns easily, then you don’t produce much melanin. Sun damage can lead to dark spots, freckles, pigment which in turn can lead to skin cancer. Sun damage can occur in African-Americans just as it does with other skin types. Even though African-Americans have more melanin in their skin, it doesn’t protect the skin completely from the sun’s damaging rays nor from skin cancer. Dark spots and blotchy skin tone can be found on African-American skin also.
Another type of dark spot I want to mention is Melasma. Melasma is directly related to hormones, pregnancy and birth control pills. All these situations can tell the skin to make more pigment, which in combination with light can produce too much pigment. Melasma definitely looks different then dark spots from sun damage. Often brown, blotchy patches with a mask-like appearance can be found on the cheeks, forehead, and chin.
Last but not least are the dark spots which people experience from acne breakouts. These dark spots can appear on the face and body if you have suffered from acne in those areas. Sometimes people refer to these marks as acne scars but I like to refer to these types of spots left behind from acne as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH. Out of all the dark spots we have mentioned in this article, these spots from acne can be dealt with easily if you have the right products and skincare professional to help you. One of the most important thing we look at in our clinic is if you still have acne. If you do then you will continue to create more acne dark spots. So our goal is get your acne under control and lighten those spots all at once. We use a customized home care routine for your acne and in office treatments to help control and lighten up your pigment (PIH). Depending on how severe your pigmentation and acne is will dictate how long it will take to clear both. Treating dark spots from acne is our speciality at Skintherapy Skincare and Acne Clinic. Read more about our Acne Program here…