Dark spots are one of those skin problems that is true across skin tones. Yes, this particular issue is darker on some than others, but the problem exists. We collectively refer to the problem as issues with hyperpigmentation. In essence, your skin is producing too much melanin, skin pigmentation, for one reason of another. There’s no one foolproof way to stop it all though thanks to the fact that various conditions can all result in experiencing similar problems. Each one has a separate name to ensure that we don’t mistake one for the other too. Varying levels of pigmentation happen in each instance, but they’re all able to be seen and somehow end up disrupting our overall skin tone. Freckles are a good example of this with the only real difference being many people actually find them attractive rather than disruptive. So let’s take a closer look at what can cause various kinds of hyperpigmentation so that the next time you notice spots you’ll have an idea of what condition you’re experiencing.

Sun Spots
These are probably the single most common form of dark spots. It is little wonder given their primary cause is sun damage itself. Sun spots, sometimes know as age spots, are the result of unprotected or lightly protect UV ray exposure. The rays get into the skin and damage the cells within in such a way that particular areas begin to overproduce melanin. Spots in this case can range from light to dark with the darkest spots being of particular note to doctors as they can sometimes be a sign of a form of skin cancer. The best way to actually prevent sun spots is to remember to wear sunscreen all the time. Yes, all dark spots can be made darker by exposure to the sun, but these are the ones that are actually caused by it. Remembering to use an appropriate sunscreen will minimize the amount of time sun spots appear on your skin. We recommend finding a sunscreen that provides a physical blocker, such as zinc oxide, in its active ingredients that provides broad spectrum protection. The SPF rating on the sunscreen should be 30 or higher to adequately guard against sun spots and other problems.

Melasma
You’re going to want to avoid the sun if you want to avoid melasma too, but it isn’t just the sunlight that is causing issues in this case. Melasma has the distinction of being the form of hyperpigmentation that is deeply tied to hormone levels in the body. Major shifts and fluctuations are what leave the skin susceptible to this particular skin condition. Most of the time pregnant people, people on birth control, and people on medications that affect areas of hormonal importance in the body tend to be the ones who experience melasma. It involves the formation of distinct patches of blotchy, darker skin. The most frustrating part about it is that you can’t ultimately prevent melasma from happening as only a few shifts in the right places can end up causing it with minimal sun exposure as long as those shifts are happening. We again recommend using an appropriate sunscreen to help minimize the problem and ensure that it doesn’t get out of hand. Other treatments can be used to lighten the affected areas and gradually improve skin tone.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
This is probably one of the few instances of dark spots that we can tie to the sun that isn’t the direct result of said celestial body. Instead, as the name suggests, it is directly tied to inflamed skin. Most of the time these spots form in response to some comparatively damaging trauma to the skin. We tend to see them most commonly form after particularly potent cases of acne. However, they can form from just basic physical damage to the skin as well. Most of the time these spots tend to look like slightly darker shades of our basic skin tone. Pink, red, and brown spots are all quite common. It is very important that we stress that certain skincare products and procedures can also lead to this form of spots. Over-exfoliating using any product can cause this problem as well as even properly performed chemical peels. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is why you’re advised to use the gentlest products that will still be effective for your skin type. Remembering this should help you minimize any instances of this kind of hyperpigmentation.

Dealing with the various kind of dark spots tends to be relatively easy. Peels, laser treatments, and even over the counter cream combinations can all lighten dark spots. The key to it is simply making sure that you’ve done what you can to protect your skin properly. Wear sunscreen. Use gentle products. Try to stay away of how often you need to refresh that sunscreen from before too. Once you remember all of these, you should be able to confidently keep many kinds of hyperpigmentation at bay.

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