Love your skin
No spots and no fear. All you need to know about skin spots.
Dark, light, round or jagged, once they appear there's no escape: the eye always falls upon them. Skin spots, along with wrinkles, are one of the biggest concerns for us women.
The good news is that with a little attention and a good dose of patience, it's possible to prevent and eliminate them or significantly reduce them, but let's take things in order.
What are skin spots?
Skin spots, also called discolouration, are areas of the skin with greater pigmentation, making them darker than the rest of the face (and body). There are several types, but the ones we generally refer to when it comes to "skin spots" are melasma and age spots.
Why they appear
In principle, the appearance of spots is linked to excessive production of melanin, the natural pigment found in our skin, which determines its complexion and increases when we expose ourselves to the sun, causing a tan.
The main causes of uncontrolled melanin production are:
In most cases, the appearance of skin spots is related to exposure to sunlight. It's no coincidence that skin spots tend to appear in the areas most exposed to the sun such as the face, neck, décolleté and hands.
We are more exposed to the appearance of spots at times when the body goes through hormonal alterations, such as during pregnancy or menopause.
Some hormonal medications, like birth control pills, in combination with excessive sun exposure, can promote hyperpigmentation.
A classic example is the lesions left by acne, but also by tattoos, burns and exanthematous diseases.
Is it possible to get rid of skin spots? And prevent them?
Fortunately, in both cases, the answer is yes! But to do this, you need a comprehensive strategy and will have to arm yourself with a good dose of perseverance. That's because the skin cells are completely renewed in about 30 days and to see satisfactory results, you'll have to wait for one to three months, unless they're newly formed spots.
An effective daily programme must combine three different effects:
Protect your skin from UV rays
The sun is the number one enemy when it comes to spots. It's therefore essential to apply a high SPF sunscreen even in winter, and avoid exposure during the hottest hours. If possible, also wear hats and clothing that protect from the sun.
Lighten and inhibit melanin production
Oxidative stress is the basis for the appearance of skin spots. Antioxidant substances like Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid, Resveratrol and Phytic Acid, if used consistently, have a high lightening power and inhibit the phenomena that lead to excessive melanin production. Another active ingredient with noteworthy antioxidant and anti-spot properties is Ellagic Acid, found in Pomegranate juice.
You can counteract the formation of free radicals even from inside, by increasing your intake of foods rich in antioxidants or by getting them via a supplement.
Finally, avoid cigarettes: smoking promotes oxidation phenomena.
Exfoliate to stimulate cell turnover
Stimulating the renewal of the skin's surface layers guarantees an immediate lightening effect. The most popular substances in exfoliating peels are Alpha Hydroxy Acids; but they must be used with caution, especially in spring and summer, because they can sensitise the skin and cause burns. One of the best exfoliants to use at home is Mandelic Acid, which can be used all year round because it's safer.
If the spots persist in spite of everything, you can resort to aesthetic medicine treatments. These are certainly effective, even if more traumatic for the skin, and include pulsed light, laser therapy and cryotherapy.
Are natural remedies effective?
Using home remedies such as vinegar, lemon, and baking soda has no effect at best, and at worst can even make spots worse. They are actually photosensitising substances which, in contact with light, can further darken the spots. So why take any unnecessary risks when dermocosmetics offers effective solutions?