Pigment spots appear on the skin as light-brown or dark-brown patches. There are various causes for such hyperpigmentation. The main cause is the ultraviolet radiation (UVA or UVB radiation from the sun and sunbed lamps). Another factor that causes pigment spots is hormonal changes in your body, that is, pigment spots may occur during pregnancy or be the result of taking contraceptives.
Pigment spots may occur in any part of the body exposed to the sun. Pigment spots that occur due to hormonal changes in the woman’s body most frequently appear on the face (cheeks, upper lip, chin).
Various forms of hyperpigmentation:
Melasma – brownish pigment patches on the forehead, temples, cheekbones and upper lip. It is caused by the ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation), female hormones (50-70% of them occur during pregnancy) and genetic predisposition. Melasma is not likely to disappear after pregnancy and giving birth or after giving up hormonal contraceptives. Melasma may become lighter in autumn and winter.
Solar lentigo (or liver spots) – sun-induced, light-brown lesions of irregular shape. Solar lentigo is one of the first signs of photo-ageing, and with age, the number of patches increases. Usually, liver spots appear on the face, arms and hands, but men can develop them, for example, on the back of the neck,
Freckles – they most commonly appear on the light skin or are genetically inherited. Freckles appear with the sun already in childhood, but their number reduces in the adult age. They occur on the face, arms, back of the neck. Unlike solar lentigo, freckles become lighter or completely disappear in winter.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – it occurs after damage to the skin, frequently, after an inflammatory skin disease (acne, psoriasis) or after skin burns. It is a more common problem of people with darker skin.
Solutions to the problem
- IPL (intensive pulsed light) laser treatment, or IPL photo light therapy, is the most effective way to remove pigment spots. Pigment absorbs the photo impulse, and in a couple of days after the treatment, the unwanted pigmentation “surfaces” and peels off. Phototherapy produces even better results when combined with chemical peels to smooth and improve the skin texture. -> Read about client experience in the blog.
- Chemical peels – they help remove superficial and recently developed pigment spots.
- Skin-bleaching creams as a treatment should be consistently applied for a period of 4-6 months. The most effective cream is hydroquinone. In Estonia, they sell 20% azelaic acid, which is less effective. Both are prescription drugs. If the pigment has penetrated the dermis, bleaching creams will not help.
- Sun protection – you should constantly apply sunscreen (SPF 50+), at least every 2 hours. Avoiding the sun – clothing, hats, caps, etc. Even if the weather is cloudy, you should be wearing sunscreen as UVB radiation penetrates the clouds.
Good to know:
- After the procedure, you should apply SPF 50 sunscreen for at least 2 weeks.
- For a week, skin crusts and peeled off pigment may develop on your skin. You can cover them with make-up immediately after the procedure.
- You should not drink alcohol for 24 hours after the procedure.