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Proactive Skin Spots Prevention and Treatment Methods

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Many people desire healthy, radiant skin, but prolonged sun exposure without adequate protection, hormone changes, and other factors can lead to dark spots on the skin. When this happens, many wonder if there is a way to prevent or treat skin spots.

For mild spots, over-the-counter creams containing ingredients like hydroquinone or retinol can help fade them. Laser therapy, chemical peels, or cryotherapy may be recommended for more stubborn spots.

Prevention is key. Wearing sunscreen daily, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can all contribute to preventing new spots from appearing. Effective treatments for skin spots exist, as well as everyday preventative measures to help avoid the development of such spots.

This guide will provide you with the essential information regarding skin spots. Learn what they are, how they develop, how to avoid them, and the best treatment options.

Dr. Szerman explains treatments for skin spots.

What Are Skin Spots?

Skin spots can be caused by various factors, such as sun exposure, aging, hormonal changes, or genetics. The treatment options available depend on the type and severity of the spots.

Basically, skin spots are changes in pigmentation compared to a person’s normal skin color. The Brazilian Society of Dermatology reports that these spots may vary in size and hue, and are often caused by inflammation (e.g. acne, burns, cuts).

Skin spots may be harmless, but in some cases, they can indicate a health issue. It is crucial to consult a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment options. They can confirm if further medical attention is necessary.

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What Causes Spots?

Spots may appear for a variety of reasons. They may appear due to hormones, sun exposure, scars, or disease.

Melanocytes, located in the skin, produce melanin which gives color to skin, eyes, and hair. Imbalance in the production of melanin can lead to pigmentation, such as freckles and spots.

Classification of Skin Spots

Skin spots can be classified into two categories:

  • Hyperchromia: is disorder caused by the overproduction of melatonin, which results in dark spots appearing on the skin. The factors behind hyperchromia are aging, unprotected sun exposure, and hormonal changes. Common types of pigmentation spots include freckles, age spots, and melasma. They are usually harmless but can be treated with topical creams or laser therapy.
  • Hypochromia: is a medical condition where red blood cells have reduced color, creating paler spots than skin tone. The degree and presence of the disorder is determined through the evaluation of hypochromic red blood cells. The two main causes are Iron deficiency or sideroblastic anemia and Thalassemia. To treat the condition, the underlying cause needs to be addressed.

What Diseases Cause Skin Spots?

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Skin Spots

Diseases that cause skin discoloration of often require medical treatment to remove spots.

Skin diseases can be divided into primary or secondary. Primary lesions are those present since birth, while secondary lesions are caused by external factors such as acne.

Secondary skin lesions are usually deeper than primary lesions and appear as scabs. Common skin problems associated with spots include:

Purple or Bluish-Gray Spots (Mongolian Spot)

A Mongolian Spot is a discoloration that appears on the upper buttocks of babies. It is typically bluish-gray or purplish and is caused by increased melanin production. These spots are more common in newborn babies with dark skin tones, such as those of Asian descent.

Mongolian spots are harmless and do not require any treatment. They typically fade and disappear on their own within a few years. However, it is important to differentiate them from other skin conditions such as bruises or birthmarks. If you notice any unusual skin markings on your child, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation.

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Small, Round, Dark Spots (Acne Spot)

Acne scars are an aftereffect of picking or popping spots and the abundant production of melanin in the scarred area. These scars are classified as secondary-level because inflammation is spurred in the skin.

This type of dark spot typically appears when the person has a tendency for increased melanin production and inflammation. Spots may range in color from red and purple to brown, or simply be the same color as the person’s skin.

The are also atrophic scars, which are deep and create holes in the skin, while hypertrophic scars are like nodules and give you the feeling that the skin is swollen.

Red Spots on the Skin (Actinic Keratosis)

Actinic Keratosis is a sun-exposed skin lesion, which appears as a pink, brown, or red patch, sometimes scabby or scaly. Common locations include the shoulders, face, back, arms, hands, scalp, and neck.

Measuring about 4 cm, this type of spot is more likely to occur in light-skinned people due to a reaction between melatonin and the sun’s UV rays. They are also more common in older individuals.

Since this skin spot can be precancerous, a speedy diagnosis is essential to ensure successful treatment.

Symmetrical Dark Patches on the Skin (Melasma)

Melasma is a condition that causes dark spots to form on the skin, typically on the nose, forehead, cheeks, chin, and lips. It is caused by an excess production of pigment in the skin.

People with darker skin are more prone to melasma, a condition characterized by patches of discoloration from increased levels of melanin, typically on the face and other areas of the body which are exposed to sunlight.

The spots have a broad range of colors, such as brown, tan, or gray, and are clearly defined with irregular patches. Although the shape is uneven, they appear symmetrical.

Brown Patches of Uneven Shape and Size (Melanosis)

These brown spots, also known as lentigines, are caused by sun exposure, which triggers an increase in melanocyte production in the epidermis. They often appear clustered together.

Darkened patches on the skin result from the production of increased amounts of melanin. There is no itching or pain associated with these patches, but they must be monitored closely.

Small, White Patches (Pityriasis Versicolor)

Pityriasis Versicolor is a common fungal infection of the skin. It’s sometimes also called tinea versicolor. This skin condition is caused by a fungus called Malassezia, which invades the hair follicle and interferes with the normal pigmentation of the skin, typically becoming whiter than normal.

This fungus thrives in hot and humid conditions and is worsened by excessive sweating. Taking immunosuppressants or contraceptives can lead to its development.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin condition caused by direct contact with an irritant or allergen. Symptoms range from skin redness, itchiness, and burning to blistering, cracking, and peeling. Treatment generally involves avoiding the irritating substance, and topical corticosteroid medications may help to alleviate symptoms.

Red, inflamed skin that may flake is a sign of dermatitis. It can be caused by various substances.

  • Acids;
  • Some plants;
  • Nail Polish Removers;
  • Soap and detergent;
  • Paint thinner

These red, itchy, painful, and irritating rashes have clearly defined borders.

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Types of Skin Spots

Knowing the problems connected to skin spots is important, as is understanding the most common spots. These include:

Sun Spots

Sun spots are caused by excessive sun exposure without protection, often affecting the face, arms, neck, and hands as these parts are exposed. To prevent sun spots, make sure to apply sunscreen every day.

Melasma

Melasma is a common skin condition that typically appears during pregnancy. It is triggered by hormonal changes that affect melanin production in the skin, particularly on the face, especially on the cheeks and forehead. Read our comprehensive article on Melasma to gain a clearer understanding of the condition and debunk any misconceptions.

Acne Scars

Pimples during adolescence can leave lasting effects, such as scarring, into adulthood. To avoid scarring refrain from popping pimples and use appropriate dermatological acne treatments.

Learn more about acne scars in our comprehensive guide. Click here to get started.

Causes

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Spots and Melasma

Skin spots may be caused by various factors. Various causes of skin spots include:

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause dark spots to appear in areas of the skin that have folds, including:

  • Underarms
  • Belly
  • Back
  • Neck

Acanthosis Nigricans, a skin change caused by an imbalance of hormones resulting from insulin resistance, is the outcome of this condition.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by the presence of whitish, scaly patches, most commonly on the elbows, knees, hands, forearms, and scalp. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, though it has been linked to a genetic predisposition.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a long-term skin disorder that typically presents as red spots and itching on the face of people with fair skin, usually over the age of 25, most often in women. While its cause is unknown, sun sensitivity and a reaction to ointments can trigger it. It may be mistaken for acne.

Mycosis

Fungal infection, also known as mycosis is a skin condition caused by fungi. Symptoms include itching, redness, and flaking of the skin in larger, distinct patches. These patches are more likely to occur during summer due to heat and humidity, which create an optimal environment for fungi.

Hansen’s disease

Hansen’s disease is caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacteria and is characterized by red or pink spots on the skin, decreased muscle strength, and decreased sensation.

Rubella

Rubella is an infectious virus, Togavirus, characterized by small red patches on the face, back of the ear, and potentially the entire body.

Zika virus

The Zika virus often causes a spot that causes itching and tenderness. The spot usually disappears when the disease is treated and does not leave any lingering effects.

COVID

Covid is a viral illness caused by the Coronavirus, which is marked by spots and small bumps on the skin. Similar to chickenpox, it may cause itching. Although the illness typically passes, the spots may linger.

Pityriasis Versicolor

Pityriasis Versicolor, often called “beach mycosis,” is caused by the Malassezia furfur fungus and results in white spots on the skin due to reduced melanin production. It is most visible when exposed to the sun.

Vitiligo

Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes white patches to appear on the skin permanently. Its occurrence does not depend on age or any known cause.

How to Prevent Skin Spots

Preventing skin spots is just as important finding the best treatment for them.

To maintain beautiful and healthy looking skin, establish a regular skin care routine. This will help to prevent spots and other skin issues.

Here are a few tips to streamline the process:

  • Drink plenty of water all year long, but be especially mindful to do so during the summer months. Aim for a minimum of two liters a day, and if you can drink more, even better! Without adequate hydration, the skin becomes more dry and prone to irritation and breakouts due to greater sensitivity;
  • To prevent skin damage, refrain from picking or popping pimples and seek professional help. This is the best way to manage issues with your skin effectively;
  • Exfoliate your skin every 15 days to promote cell renewal and remove dead cells that can hinder your skin’s natural health;
  • Invest in serums containing vitamin C; this antioxidant neutralizes free radicals caused by sun, pollutants, and chemicals;
  • During pregnancy, take extra care to avoid melasma spots. This is due to the increased levels of hormones in the body. Use sunscreen with a high SPF and consume foods rich in Vitamin C to reduce the risk of melasma;
  • In summer, acid treatments should be avoided as they make the skin more sensitive to the sun’s stronger rays, which can cause burns and wrinkles. Furthermore, peelings should also be avoided during this time;
  • In the summer, protect yourself by wearing sunscreen and a hat, visor, or cap when at the beach or pool, or when going on a walk;
  • After waxing, use products that moisturize and soothe the skin. Waxing is an aggressive process and can result in ingrown hairs and redness. Make sure to invest in products that are suitable for your skin type for best results. Additionally, moisturizing after waxing is essential to ensure healthy skin.

Finally, wear sunscreen every day. Even if the sun isn’t out UVA/UVB rays can still damage skin. Artificial light can cause skin damage too. During summer, choose sunscreens with higher protection, and apply them every 30 minutes. To tan safely, avoid being in the sun between 10am and 4pm.

How to Treat Skin Spots

Skincare professionals or dermatologists provide in-office treatments for skin spots. Common treatment options include topical creams, laser treatments, and chemical peels.

Laser Therapy

Laser treatments are the most effective way to treat skin blemishes. A trained professional directs beams of light at the affected area, calibrated to penetrate the skin from the top layer to the deepest. The laser breaks down pigment, and stimulates collagen production and new epithelial cell growth, resulting in a softer appearance of the blemishes.

At Clínica de Pele in Rio de Janeiro, we offer Fractional and Pulsed CO2 Laser treatments. This advanced technology uses heat to rejuvenate the skin, without causing burns or discomfort. Results are usually seen after the first session, and the patient can go home the same day.

The number of treatment sessions necessary to treat skin spots varies depending on the type of spot, skin tone, and patient’s reaction.

Check out the video below to see how the CO2 laser treatment for skin spots works.

Pulsed Light

Pulsed Light treatments, similar to lasers, reduce spots, wrinkles, and unwanted hair. The light pulses break down the pigment, eliminating it via the lymphatic system. The result is a lighter and more even skin tone.

This treatment increases elastin and collagen fibers by 50%, while simultaneously enriching the skin with oxygen for a more youthful, beautiful look. Each session typically lasts 30 minutes, depending on the type of spot.

Microneedling

Microneedling is a procedure in which a device called a Dermaroller, fitted with small needles and cannulas, is used. Sometimes, lightening substances may be applied to enhance the results; however, this is not always the case.

Microneedling treatment sessions typically last 40 minutes and are not disruptive to the patient’s normal routine. Results may be visible after the first session, and there are no known side effects.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peel is an effective treatment for skin spots, as it utilises higher concentrations of acid than creams. This direct application of the acid to the lesion results in more efficient spot treatment.

The products used offer deep exfoliation to remove unwanted pigments and foster the growth of new cells in the skin. The stimulation of elastin and collagen promotes a more youthful appearance.

Physical Peels

Physical peel is an effective treatment for skin spots that uses peeling inducers such as microdermabrasion devices, sandpaper, diamond, and crystal peeling. These devices exfoliate the skin to reveal new cells, resulting in firmer, more even-toned skin.

Photoprotection

Sun-protection is essential for reducing certain kinds of skin spots. Photoprotection involves taking precautions when exposed to the sun’s UV rays.

We reiterate these precautions:

  • When venturing outdoors, wear a hat and sunglasses;
  • In warmer months, opt for breathable, natural-fiber clothing;
  • Avoid long sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
  • Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

This skin care prevents spots from developing and safeguards your skin from producing additional spots.

Take our online quiz now to discover which treatment is ideal for you. Get an estimate instantly by clicking the banner below.

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Skin Spots Before and After

View the before and after of patients who received skin spot treatment at Clinica de Pele:

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antes e depois cicatriz de acne
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antes e depois manchas

 

Testimonials

Testimonials from patients who received successful skin spot treatment at the Rio de Janeiro Skin Clinic:

Skin spots ara a common problem that can hurt your self-esteem and affect your overall life quality. If you notice any changes to your skin, visit a dermatologist for examination.

The Clinica de Pele specializes in treatments and procedures for skin spots and other issues. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our treatments.

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