I Have Dark Spots...What Are They?
A properly-trained and boarded dermatologist is your best bet for a proper diagnosis of the dark spots that you have, but some common conditions are:
Dark spots or patches that appear on the face randomly, without any reddening, itching, or other reaction preceding them. Melasma can darken, grow, spread, and is notoriously hard to treat, often reappearing even after initial lightening. Melasma is caused by UVB, UVA, Infrared, and Visible Light exposure from the sun or indoor lights (halogens, fluorescents, computer screens) as well as heat sources (stoves, saunas).
Dark spots from skin inflammations or trauma. We often think of these as dark scars due to pimples, rashes, or insect bites, but its actually the exposure of these skin lesions to light that causes the dark spots, not the lesions themselves.
Both melasma and PIH can be worsened by allergens, irritants (including hydroquinone), and photo-allergens (ingredients, like dyes preservatives and fragrances, that can react with light to cause darkening).
- "Liver spots" or "age spots":
Despite their common names, these spots have nothing to do with the liver or age. These flat, dark marks that become larger over time are really solar lentigenes or sun spots and are skin mutations from chronic sunburns, regular sun exposure, or sun-sensitivity. These sun spots are a signal to stay out of the sun, and to use sunscreens with high SPF and PFA (UVA) factors. Exposure to indoor lights can make them more pronounced.
A rash-like reaction to light exposure.
Blue-black plaques that look like bruises and are very difficult to treat, with poor success rates. They can be caused by continued use of hydroquinone.
Photodermatological research is proving more and more that light rays such as Visible and Infrared Light can cause or exacerbate these discolorations.
Visible Light is emitted by computer screens, TV screens, uncovered fluorescent lights, halogen lights, and other decorative indoor lights.
Infrared Light is emitted by heat sources like open fires, stoves, ovens, or saunas
VMV HYPOALLERGENICS® Armada Indoor-Outdoor Sun + Light Screens feature the most comprehensive protection—no other sun and light screen has measured protection factors against both outdoor and indoor UVA, UVB, Visible, and Infrared Light.
Click here for more on lightening.
Click here for how hypoallergenicity can help with pigmentation problems.
Click here for information on photosensitivity.
Click here for more information on photopatch testing.
Click here for tips on selecting a dermatologist.
Click here for more information on reactions.