Have you started to notice an increase in dark spots and melasma patches on your face? Do dark marks appear after an acne flare up? Is it as if overnight your face is changing? Alarming, yes, because like us, your complexion and décolleté were always flawless. This occurrence and the impact of dealing with mature skin may require a skin check up with a Dermatologist. More common as we age, hyperpigmentation “occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin color, forms deposits in the skin,” according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. For both hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melanin overproduction may result in darker scarring, sunspots, and post pimple acne marks. To further our understanding about the causes of this discoloration issue we reached out to ask noted board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Hope Mitchell of Mitchell Dermatology. “Skin changes as women age, especially hyperpigmentation or dark spots. This can be attributed to hormonal shifts that may begin in a woman’s 40s, combined with unprotected sun exposure. Many women are also troubled with a resurgence of acne or pigmentation from perimenopausal induced hormonal acne. Interestingly, the visible light emitted from daily usage of devices like cell phones and computers can also produce darker and more sustained hyperpigmentation, particularly in darker skinned individuals,” explains Dr. Mitchell. While being mindful of the types of products to apply to the body to counter toxic buildup, we tend to fall into the camp of coupling alternative solutions with prescriptive treatments. It’s essential to underscore that “natural, plant-based, or organic” does not necessarily mean tolerable or effective. Further, as you age your relationship with your skin health provider becomes that much more important. “We cannot completely avoid hyperpigmentation; however, studies have shown that sun protection alone may improve hyperpigmentation. Further, greater improvements may be achieved when sunscreen is combined with retinol, niacinamide, kojic acid, azelaic acid and brightening agents like vitamin C,” says Dr. Mitchell. From the discovery of skin changes to implementing a corrective action plan, the treatment process you select requires diligence, consistency, and daily sunscreen application. We encourage you to determine your optimum course of action and love your skin again.
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