Pigmented spots are similar to birthmarks in that they produce more melanin in certain areas of the skin. The stains are not dangerous, but they are often perceived as visually disturbing. In such cases, the pigmentation can be removed by a dermatologist. He has various methods available with laser, peeling and bleaching cream. Read more about the causes as well as the different treatment options for pigmented spots.
Increased production of melanin
For most people, the skin is flawlessly beautiful. Often, minor or major pigmentation disorders occur, such as freckles or age spots. The spots are usually brownish or reddish. In contrast to birthmarks, pigmentation marks are usually not palpable.
The spots are caused by increased production of the skin pigment melanin. This is produced by certain skin cells - the so-called melanocytes. Normally, these cells protect us from UV radiation and provide the tan of the skin in summer. If some spots form a lot of melanin, skin pigmentations develop on the skin.
Causes of pigmentation
There are several reasons why melanin is increasingly produced at certain parts of the body. In addition to predisposition and too much harmful UV radiation, especially hormonal changes play a role. Such changes can occur in women, for example, during pregnancy or menopause, but also by taking the pill. In some cases, the pigment spots then form back when a hormonal balance is restored.
Likewise, certain diseases can lead to pigmentary disorders. Possible causes include:
- Skin disorders such as acne or psoriasis
- Infectious diseases like herpes zoster
- celiac Disease
- Metabolic disorders
- Lack of folic acid or vitamin B12
In addition, medicines that increase the photosensitivity of the skin can lead to pigmentation disorders. These medications include antibiotics, some chemotherapeutics and St. John's wort products.
Important: Always have a dermatologist check any skin changes that you find worrying. In some cases, skin cancer can also be behind such a change.
White spots on the skin
While many pigmentary disorders are caused by an increased concentration of melanin to reddish or brownish spots on the skin, there are also disorders in which too little melanin is produced. In such a case, there are white spots that occur mainly on the hands and face. This phenomenon is called white spot disease (vitiligo).
Why the white spots on the skin occur, could not yet be finally clarified. It is assumed that the persons affected have a genetic predisposition. Vitiligo is not curable, but by irradiation with UV light, the symptoms can be mitigated.
Treat pigmentation spots
Harmless pigmentation does not actually require treatment. However, if they are perceived as cosmetically disturbing, the stains can be removed. The best way to remove minor pigmentation disorders is by laser treatment. The laser destroys the pigment accumulations and subsequently removes them from immune cells. As a result, the dark spots on the skin disappear.
In addition to the laser treatment, there are other ways to remove pigmentation. So the spots can be separated with a scalpel, iced with nitrogen or treated with an acid peeling. In order to avoid scars and ugly skin spots, you should always leave the treatment to an experienced dermatologist. Since the treated skin area is particularly sensitive after removal of the stain, it must be carefully protected from the sun.
Even if a pigment spot has been removed, it may recur after some time, or new spots may appear elsewhere. This is especially the case when the skin has been exposed to increased UV radiation for years. Once the melanocytes are particularly active, their level of activity is difficult to lower again.
Remove stains with creams
Pigmented spots can also be removed with the help of special bleaching creams. Such creams are effective especially for light discoloration. Some products are over the counter, others only available on prescription. These are usually creams containing the active ingredient hydroquinone higher doses. Since the active substance is suspected of being slightly carcinogenic, it should be used for a maximum of three months.
Bleaching creams should always be applied only at certain points on the affected skin. Mostly they are applied morning and evening. In the morning you should then generously apply sunscreen, as the skin becomes more sensitive to light through the bleaching cream. Very bright spots may result in treatment after just four weeks, but it usually takes at least two months for the spots to fade.
Bleaching agents should only be used after consultation with your doctor, because the creams are not completely harmless: The application may sometimes cause severe skin irritation. If you notice such a reaction, you should stop the treatment and see a doctor.
It is not always possible to prevent pigmentary disorders as they are often genetic or hormonal. Women who suffer from a pigment disorder may be considering switching to a non-hormonal contraceptive method. In addition, pigmentation can also be prevented by avoiding a deficiency of folic acid or vitamin B12.
It is also important that you pay attention to a sufficient sun protection. Because probably the UV radiation plays a role in the development of pigmented spots. Make sure that you are not only on holiday, but also in everyday outdoor activities on a sufficient level of protection. This not only prevents the formation of unsightly skin spots, but can also prevent skin cancer.