The causes of dark spots & its remedies

What causes dark spots?

The Sun: UV rays produce excess melanin, which is deposited in the skin.

Inflammation: Trauma to the skin is one of the main causes for hyperpigmentation, and also responsible for sharp, blunt or normal irritation and inflammation.

Acne: The more severe the blemish the more inflamed the skin is, and the more likely it is to pigment. Inflamed areas naturally produce more melanin.

Hormones: Pregnancy, birth control, and menopause can cause a spike in melanin production.

Lasers and peels: Laser and strong chemical peels cause inflammation, and the body may respond with brown patches or stripes.

Medication: Some antibiotics (sulphonamides and tetracyclines) and medications to treat Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, can lead to dark patches as an allergic reaction or because of increased sun sensitivity.

Regardless of what caused your skin to become uneven in tone, the slightest bit of sun exposure (mere minutes in the sun can be enough for some) can trigger the skin to kick melanin production into overdrive. That’s why wearing sunscreen daily is stressed in almost all the sections.

Surface pigmentation vs. deep pigmentation

When pigmentation is on the top most layer of your skin, the discolouration is more of a light brown colour and is more diffused. It also responds better to treatment. Pigmentation deep within skin takes on more of a dark brown or grey shade and is solid and hence harder to treat.

 

Chemical peels

These are a series of light ‘chemical’ peels that use Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, resorcinol, TCA, Jessner’s solution etc. They can improve skin texture and colour.

Laser resurfacing treatments and intense pulsed light (IPL)

Laser treatments—in which a beam of fractionated energy is delivered to skin to incite a wound-healing response— can work wonders to correct hyperpigmentation or more specifically sunspots and acne scars. When using lasers to treat hyperpigmentation, it is important that a low- energy, non-ablative fractional laser is used. Otherwise, new or more pigmentation can develop. Nd: YAG lasers can also be used to treat spots.

Enzymes

Enzymes are tiny little proteins that accelerate chemical reactions in skin cells and on the surface of the skin, they are responsible for softening it. They also dissolve and digest old, dry skin cells so that you can wash them away easily to reveal healthy, glowing skin. Enzymes tend to be gentler than acids in chemically loosening the cells of your outer most layer. Enzymes are less acidic and have a pH value closer to the skin’s natural state. Every fruit has an enzyme and all of them can help, so you can simply use the pulp to massage or apply it as a pack and let it stay on for 15 minutes.

Keep your skin free from pigmentation!

Everything You need to know about Open Pores

This is one complaint that everyone has irrespective of their age, and why not? Even if you have absolutely clean complexion, presence of open pores makes your skin look unhealthy.

The skin actually starts to look dull because it does not reflect light evenly. When this gets linked with oily skin, comedones (bumps on the skin that give it a rough texture), and acne, you end up hating this condition further. It is important you have your pores nice and closed so that your skin looks flawless and bright.

Why do you get open pores?
Sometimes you are genetically prone to have open pore skin, maybe in combination with oily skin. Then as you age, your skin gets relaxed and the pores open up. Excessively steaming your face during a facial or while body steaming and sauna, or the latest craze of hot yoga, can lead to permanently relaxed pores.

How to deal with it?
The simplest thing you can do is use absolutely chilled water from your fridge and splash it on your face. That acts like an instant toner which tightens up your pores. Also, make sure that every time you go to a salon, ask them to use cool mist after they have done the blackhead extraction and deep cleansing. Ask them to put a cold towel on your face while you are in a steam chamber. Splash cold water on your face after a hot shower. You can use ice cubes wrapped in a bit of muslin on your pores as a cooling pack. You can try a mask with kaolin clay or fuller’s earth (multani mitti) to tighten the pores. Apply calamine lotion to calm the skin. Try mild peels on your own at home. Buy either Kojic Acid 6–20%, Azelaic Acid 10–20%, or Salicylic Acid of around 2%, which are all available over the counter. You can apply them one at a time and leave it overnight and see how your skin takes it. Once your skin gets used to it, you can mix all the three and apply it. Leave it on for a couple of hours and see how your skin reacts. Once it adjusts to the blend, you can leave it overnight. If you have oily skin, use this twice a week, and if your skin is dry, then apply it only once a week. Application of Tretinoin and Retino-A ointments at night over a period of time also helps. Look for pore minimizing creams or serums for wearing under your sunscreen during the day.

At your skin doctor’s
You can also go to your doctor’s to get mild peels done regularly. Ask for    Retin-A peels and medium depth peels. You can do Mesotherapy wherein Botox is injected underneath your skin to shrink the pores. You can also opt for collagen remodelling laser treatment which shrinks the pores automatically. You also get done special treatments for pores at RA:

  • Pore Tightening Peels
  • Pore and oil reducing special peels
  • Instant Pore Tightening and a lot more.

How you should take care of your Skin and hair in 30s

So you have hit the big 3 ‘oh’s! You have a good career, a good set of friends, and more stability in life than before. More importantly, you are done with student life and feel all grown up! But this is the time when you are also starting to worry just a bit when you look in the mirror. Maybe, you spot a hint of the fine line or extra pigment. Yes, it is time to visit your doctor for a little hair and skincare.

 

As you progress in your 30s, some of the signs of photo- ageing start to show up. Especially, as you cross your 35th year, you will notice more pigmentation and dull skin issues. But if you have been religiously following a good skincare routine in your younger years, the impact might be less. Anti-ageing treatment does not mean that you address it after you see the first wrinkle. Take the preventive care approach. If you take care now, then your skin will thank you much later. Ageing for me does not mean the number of candles on your cake, but how your skin looks and feels. So before pigmentation and fine lines become a challenge, try this regime. The most important thing is to find a right exfoliating face wash or scrub that goes well with your skin type. This illuminates your skin and keeps it soft and supple.

Your 5-step regimen for Skincare:

Step 1: 

Continue with the skincare regime you set up in your 20s. You may add a little more to your cleansing routine. Use the combination of makeup remover and a face wash to get a really clean skin. In your cleansing routine, add a gentle scrub every alternate night. You can also look for a face wash that contains some exfoliating actives like AHA. This is because your skin’s natural sloughing off process starts to slow down now.

Step 2: 

Take special care of the under eye area and lips. Use a lightening, capillary stabilizing cream like Vit K, blood pigment clearing lotion like Arnica under-eye gel or cream every night. Use a concealer with a good moisturizer during the day. Sunscreen is important here too. For eye and lip care refer to the earlier chapter. Use beeswax-based lip butter with an SPF to keep them soft.

Step 3:

Continue with your sunscreen. You can also wear a moisturizer with ceramides additionally as the skin tends to get drier now.

Step 4:

At night you can change your night cream from a simple one to one that has ingredients like Retin A, AHA, BHA, other skin lighteners, collagen boosters, and other anti-oxidants. Also, start giving some attention to your body skin as well. You can also start using a firming cream if you feel the need. Do not forget your neck and back of your hands especially.

Step 5: 

Now is the time to get some professional help. Start with your supplements for skin and hair health. 

Hair Care 

The 30s is when you really have to start taking care of your hair. As your body goes through some changes due to varied reasons like pregnancy or changing hormonal levels, your hair starts to show signs of ageing. You might find it getting frizzy. Hair gets dry while the scalp can get oily. Hair fall starts to become an issue. So keep up with your oil massage and shampoo regime. You can actually do it every alternate day. Post-shampoo, you can use a protein hair mask to strengthen the strands. Start applying a serum after washing it to tame frizz and flyaways. Avoid rubbing your wet hair with a towel. Instead, wrap it in a muslin (not Turkish) towel at the nape of your neck. Opt for air-drying your hair as much as possible. Protect your hair from the sun with umbrellas and sun protection hair sprays now easily available in the market. If you see hair fall, this could be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Common at this age is polycystic ovaries or iron deficiency leading to anaemia.

Protein infusion for your hair 

Apply egg on your head. Or whisk an egg with some yoghurt and apply the mask to your hair and scalp. Leave it on for a while. Shampoo and condition as usual. If you can’t stand the smell, then add a few drops of lavender essential oil. It has a calming effect on the irritated scalp.

As you age there are prominent changes which can make your skin look dull, make sure care for your skin and do the right things at the right time.