Don’t hide your skin discoloration—fix it!

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We all strive for clear, soft, luminous skin. So when dark spots or bleached patches mar your face, hands, and body, it’s downright frustrating, not to mention alarming. Even if you haven’t faced the challenge of skin discoloration yet, it only becomes more common with age. The good news is that, armed with the right knowledge, you can lower your risk and nip problems in the bud. If you’ve already noticed some changes to your skin color, read on to find out what to do about it and whether you should be worried.

Common Causes

If you see patchy lightening or darkening of skin, without a change in texture, you'll find the most common causes below. If you see a texture change, like raised bumps or scales, be sure to see a dermatologist, as this could signal a dangerous condition like skin cancer. 

Sun exposure

This is the big one. Damage from going out in the sun without protection builds up over a lifetime, and there’s no undoing it. With age, this causes liver spots, which are non-malignant patches of brown skin. As long as they are flat against the rest of the skin, they don’t threaten your health, and they can be reduced with treatment. But continued sun exposure will make them worse, so keep applying sunscreen!

Melasma

These are gray-brown patches of skin that usually appear on the face. The precise cause is unknown, but it can be triggered by hormonal changes and is most common in pregnant women, although men can experience it too. It’s more common in people with darker skin, and sun exposure can worsen it.

Vitiligo

This condition occurs when the pigment-producing cells in the skin die or go dormant, creating lighter patches of skin. It usually first appears on the areas that get more sun exposure, like the face and hands, but can affect any part of the body.

Tinea versicolor

This is a fungal infection that creates patches of discolored skin, usually on the torso. The skin can become lighter or darker than the surrounding area, and sun exposure can worsen the appearance. The fungus is naturally occurring on the skin, but it can overgrow in especially humid or oily conditions, or if the immune system is weakened. Antifungal creams are the first-line treatment.

Treatment

With these conditions, the skin discoloration lingers even after the underlying cause has been addressed. The key to reducing the appearance of darkened or bleached skin is to stimulate new skin growth from the healthier underlying layers.

One of the best ways to do this is with a chemical peel. This procedure comes in a variety of flavors depending on the specific products used, but the basic idea is to use powerful exfoliants to penetrate the surface of the skin and spark rejuvenation. The dead cells are lifted off, and the deeper layers experience a low level of damage, prompting them to heal themselves and reactivate healthy pigment generation.

Another solution is laser treatment. This uses a different tool to achieve the same goal of simulating skin growth and healing. The laser generates pulses of intense like at wavelengths targeted to reduce pigment, causing it to rise to the top layer of the skin and peel off.

Become Medspa offers both treatments, using the highest quality products and best laser technology available, all supervised by a board-certified physician. Learn more or contact us to start treating your skin discoloration.

Rob Taormina