As we near the end of summer, your skin has most likely developed telltale signs of the fun you have had in the summer.
If you are a lady of childbearing age, you might notice browner areas on the cheeks, nose, or upper lip which is due to a condition called Melasma.
If you are on oral contraceptives or recently experienced childbirth, then these patches can be especially noticeable. However, some ladies and even men develop these brown areas on a hereditary basis.
If you forgot to use your sunscreen regularly or vacationed in a sunny spot, then your discoloration probably is much more noticeable.
Sun freckles also tend to become more noticeable after the summer months. The UV tanning rays stimulate pigment production and these lesions have an abundance of pigment producing cells so the more sun exposure, the darker they get.
If for some reason you mistakenly ventured into a tanning bed, these lesions really become darkened and noticeable.
Outdoor sun exposure can also cause a general increase and tanning of the skin so that can make normal areas three or four shades darker at exposed sites such as the face, ears, neck, and outer arms compared to the areas that have been protected from ultraviolet light.
Once your routine is back to normal and outdoor sun exposure is reduced, your pigment cells will stop producing the extra pigment and the color will tend to even out on its own. However, several months or more can be required for this process to be complete.
With conditions such as Melasma, the increase in pigmentation tends to be more persistent and can continue for years after prolonged sun exposure. Medical treatment with topical creams can sometimes help even out the pigmentation, but on other occasions, additional treatment with chemical peels for example is required to get the darker areas to fade away.
If your pigment deposits migrate to deeper areas of the skin which results in a bluish gray coloration, a condition called dermal Melasma is present. When this happens, topical creams alone don’t usually work, so more aggressive measures such as deeper peels or light treatments are indicated to help remove the more stubborn melanin deposits. Continued usage of contraceptive products can increase the difficulty of removing this type of pigmentation.
Once the brown spots or sun freckles called lentigines develop, they rarely go away on their own. Treatment in the form of freezing with liquid nitrogen or laser treatment is usually necessary to remove these blotchy areas of pigment.
With all of these measures that are used to correct excessive pigmentation, continued use of sunscreen with UVA protection is a must. This type of sun protection product will protect you from additional tanning and pigment production of your skin in the undesirable areas.