What causes skin discoloration and how can it be treated?
Skin discoloration is a common issue, and it can manifest in different ways.
Maybe you notice more freckles on your face than usual. Perhaps you find age spots forming on your arm. Or you might see dark patches on the skin across your face, arms, or legs.
And you’ll probably feel concerned when you spot any changes in your skin, even if it’s only cosmetic.
But what actually causes skin discoloration? And what treatments can you try to reduce its visibility?
What causes pigmentation problems?
Pigmentation (also known as hyperpigmentation) refers to uneven skin coloring in one or more areas.
For example, a dark patch will stand out against the lighter skin around it, especially on the face (where it’s not so easy to cover up). This might affect the way in which you see yourself, and cause you to avoid mixing with others or taking part in activities you usually enjoy.
But pigmentation issues may be easier to address once you identify the cause.
So, let’s explore the causes of common skin discoloration types:
Age spots (or sunspots) are flat, brown spots that form in different areas of the body. They’re typically painless and harmless.
They may even be called liver spots, though the liver has no connection to them.
What causes age spots? The simple answer is that they’re triggered by exposure to the sun or by using tanning beds.
But the more complex answer is that age spots form when melanin becomes clustered in the skin, or is produced in higher concentrations than before.
Melanin is the substance within the body that provides your skin with its color. And when ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin, they prompt melanocytes to produce melanin and protect the skin from sun damage.
The more time you spend in direct sunlight, the more melanin your body will produce, and you’ll develop a tan — or age spots.
These tend to appear on parts of the body most commonly exposed to UV rays, including the face, arms, decolletage, hands, and neck. Obviously, if you spend a lot of time working on a full body tan, it’s possible that you could develop age spots in less visible places too.
Some people consider freckles to be one of their key defining features and take pride in showing them off to the world, just like the A-list stars covered in this People post.
But for others, freckles can be a difficult aspect of their appearance to embrace.
These tiny brown or beige spots tend to form in clusters, usually on the face, legs, and arms. They tend to become darker after you spend long periods in the sun, and may appear lighter throughout the winter.
That’s because UV light will produce extra melanin and increase the visibility of your freckles. But genetics plays a part in freckle formation too.
A gene known as MC1R determines the type of melanin the body produces: pheomelanin or eumelanin. The latter protects the skin from UV radiation, but the former doesn’t.
If you have dark hair, dark eyes, and dark skin, it’s likely that you’ll produce eumelanin. And that means you’ll be less prone to freckles.
But anyone with light hair (blonde, brown, red), skin, and eyes will primarily produce pheomelanin. This makes freckles much more likely.
Melasma creates dark patches on skin, usually brown or gray. These can form on the nose, forehead, cheeks, or chin. Even the upper lip may be affected. When melasma develops, it’s usually symmetrical on both sides of the face.
But melasma can still show on other areas of the body besides the face: the forearms, neck, and anywhere else frequently exposed to sunlight.
This condition can be caused by both UV exposure and hormonal changes. This sets it apart from hyperpigmentation, and can make it harder to treat.
Pregnant women may be affected by melasma due to hormonal fluctuations, though certain medications (e.g. oral contraceptives) and treatments can contribute too. Melasma typically worsens during summer, particularly if you spend more time outdoors in bright weather without covering up or wearing sunblock.
What skin discoloration treatments are available?
If you’re looking to treat discoloration of the skin, multiple amazing treatments are available. Here are three of the most effective options to consider:
The Perfect Derma Peel
The Perfect Derma Peel offers medical-grade formulations, containing numerous powerful ingredients:
The Perfect Derma Peel is designed to solve common skin issues, including age spots and dull complexions. They cater to all skin types and ethnicities.
Results may be visible after just one week.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
PRP therapy involves taking a concentration of platelets from your blood, preparing them in a centrifuge, and injecting them back into your body.
Why? The plasma releases growth factors that stimulate and increase the number of cells performing skin repairs.
As a result, PRP therapy can cultivate healthier, tighter, more youthful skin. It’s known to reduce the visibility of dark circles, scars, and stretch marks.
Mesotherapy (often confused with microneedling) is designed to improve the skin’s overall appearance and leave it looking rejuvenated. It uses fine needles to make a series of injections into the skin’s middle layer.
Various solutions may be injected, depending on the patient’s condition. While mesotherapy is a popular treatment for hyperpigmentation and age spots, it can also help with acne and common signs of aging.
Glutathione IV therapy
Glutathione IV therapy is increasingly popular for discoloration of the skin. This is an antioxidant occurring naturally in the body, known to inhibit melanin production.
Glutathione IV therapy offers a number of benefits, including achieving a more even skin tone and reducing the visibility of hyperpigmentation issues (freckles, age spots, dark patches).
Feel inspired to try a hyperpigmentation treatment? Each of these cutting-edge options is available at Astra Medicare today!.
If you want to book a consultation for any of them or our other services, contact our expert team now!
Dedicated and passionate Astra Medicare staff.