Skin Discoloration

Freckles, age spots, pregnancy mask – these harmless skin defects can be quite an annoying problem.
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Freckles. Considered cute by some, they are a real problem for the others. Freckles, also known as ephelides, are small brown or tan patches common in inpidualswith lighter skin, blond or red hair, and blue, green or grey eyes. They appear early in life, increase in number during summer months and fade in winter. After the age of 40-45 they disappear, but who wants to wait?

Another type of skin discoloration is pregnancy mask, otherwise known as chloasma or melasma. It appears during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Women with darker skin are more likely to develop this condition. After delivery chloasma will fade, however some traces may still remain. It can also occur in women who are taking oral contraceptives. Men can develop it too.

Age spots – lentigines – are similar to freckles. They appear later in life and can occur in any skin type. However, if you know why the discoloration occurs and take measures to prevent it and treat, you can have an even skin tone at any age.  Freckles, age spots and pregnancy mask have several things in common. They are formed in sun exposed areas: face, hands, chest and back. These unwelcome brown patches  are nothing more than accumulation of skin pigment melanin which is always produced by the skin. The amount of melanin present determines the skin tone of an inpidual. Melanin is produced by the body in response to sun exposure. It absorbs UV rays thus protects the body from the sun.

If you want to avoid skin discoloration, the first and the most important thing you need to do is to avoid the sun and wear sunscreen. This way your body will not need to produce extra melanin.

Since melanin is accumulated in the upper layer of the skin, you might want to consider skin lightening and peeling. There are different product that can be used for this purpose:

1) Hydroquinon has been very popular treatment, however it can irritate the skin.

2) Kojic acid, discovered in Japan in 1989,  is a natural product derived from fungi. It is gentle on the skin and has been proven to be effective in treating skin discoloration. Penetrating upper skin layers, it inhibits the formation of pigment.

3) Alpha hydroxy acids help to shed the old cells faster, therefore they will be helpful as well. By removing the outer skin cells, which are usually darker, you will make your freckles or age spots lighter and less visible.

If you decide to use any of the above products, extra sun protection is imperative. If necessary, apply cream with SPF several times a day. By using skin lighteners and peels, you affect the upper darker layer.  Lower layers are lighter, there is less melanin present there. If not protected, your skin will start to produce more melanin, resulting in darker and more intensive discoloration which can be even harder to get rid of.

Please remember that skin discoloration (excluding pregnancy mask which should disappear after delivery) require consistent treatment. Once you stop using lighteners and protection, the dark patches will be back. But keeping up with your skin regiment is not difficult: all you need is a gentle yet effective lightener and a moisturizer with complete UV protection – against both UVB and UVA rays.

Natural remedies you can use:

1) Wash your face with sour milk. Lactic acid will provide gentle peeling effect without irrtating or drying your skin.

2) Lemon juice is a time proven freckle fighting remedy. It is not necessary to rub your skin with a piece of lemon. Applying the juice with your fingers will do the job.

3) Fruit and vegetable masks (apricots, strawberries, cucumbers, red currant).

4) Sour cream mask . Do not wash this mask off completely, just remove gently with facial tissue, then apply a moisturizer. For oily skin – use lemon juice before applying the mask.

5) Natural parsley juice (or parsley infusion) mixed with equal amounts of lemon juice, orange juice, and red currant juice under your  favorite cream will help you keep your freckles invisible. Last but not least – increase your Vitamin C intake! It makes your skin less sensitive to the sun. Food rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, apples, green onions, black and red currant, rosehip tea.

Please note that some types of skin discoloration are due to internal disorders. Poor liver functioning, hormonal or metabolism disorders, overactive thyroid can be underlying reasons for unsightly cosmetic problems. If this is the case, start your treatment from the inside.

Note: Information in this article is not to be taken as a medical advise. Always consult your doctor if you need professional help.

(C) Natalie Katsman.

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Last modified: January 8, 2021

Written by 11:42 am Beauty, Fashion & Beauty