With the summer season officially coming to an end, you’re probably starting to miss those long days outdoors. Spending a moderate amount of time in the sun (while using sunscreen!) is great for getting our fill of Vitamin D, but too much exposure to UV rays during the summer months can lead to signs of skin discoloration.
If you overindulged in the sunlight and are starting to see signs of discoloration or ‘hyperpigmentation’, read on for some tips on how to minimize and how to protect from future skin damage.
What Causes Skin Discoloration?
There are several factors that can cause discoloration including hormonal changes and certain medications, but the most common reason comes from sun exposure. This can result in some parts of the skin becoming darker in color than your normal skin tone. These areas usually appear as brown spots and are a collection of pigment called melanin. Melanin is made by cells in your skin to counteract the harmful rays of the sun and is the natural skin pigment that gives us our hair, skin, and eye color.
Ways to Treat & Prevent
There are many different ways you can treat skin discoloration that includes IPL photo facials, or Intense Pulsed Light, and using medical-grade skincare products!
IPL is similar to a laser treatment but the light is less concentrated. Where lasers use a single focused wavelength, IPL uses a broad-spectrum light source that penetrates multiple layers of skin. This type of light primarily targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) while leaving the top layers of skin (epidermis) unaffected. The light targets brown and red spots in the dermis and causes the pigment to break down into smaller particles, before rising to the surface of the skin to flake away.
When choosing skincare products to help with discoloration, make sure to use products with ingredients like Vitamin C, kojic acid, and arbutin because they are natural skin brighteners. These products will leave your complexion looking bright, even, and unblemished. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Skinceuticals Phloretin CF: apply this potent Vitamin C serum in the morning to soften discoloration and fine lines.
- Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense: apply this concentrated serum in the morning and night to lighten stubborn dark spots. This is a great alternative to prescription hydroquinone cream.
- SkinMedica’s Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum: formulated to address the appearance of stubborn skin discoloration, this serum can be applied both in the morning and at night, before you apply your moisturizer and sunscreen.
- West Dermatology Skin Tone Enhancement Therapy Pads (available in 2%, 4%, or 6%): these pads combine the botanical skin tone brightening ingredients of Kojic acid, arbutin, and Bearberry, along with skin protective antioxidants to soothe the skin and help with redness and discoloration.
When it comes to preventing most skincare concerns, including hyperpigmentation, you should always remember our #1 skincare tip: sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!! It’s important that you always wear sunscreen to not only prevent future damage, but to ensure that your current dark spots don’t get any darker. Usually the reason for this is because when the sun hits skin, the melanin absorbs the harmful UV rays usually resulting in your skin tanning which will cause already dark spots to tan more and become darker. So be sure to invest in a great sunscreen that will properly protect.
We recommend Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Sunscreen DNA Repairsomes SPF 50: this tinted mineral sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection. The special blend of peptides and antioxidants repairs existing sun damage and fight signs of discoloration.
As always, if you have any questions about any of the above skincare products, or want to learn more about our other discoloration treatments, give us a call and make your appointment today. Our board-certified dermatologists can assist you with putting together a specialized treatment plan specific to your skincare needs.