How can I lessen or eliminate freckles and sun spots on my face? Originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

How can I lessen or eliminate freckles and sun spots on my face?

Answer by Tatiana Aynbinder, Cosmetic Dermatology

Hyperpigmentation, freckles, and melasma are all common skin conditions that occur when abnormal amounts of melanin are produced within skin cells, leading to dark pigmented spots, or patches to form on the skin’s surface. It’s key to understand the process in which hyperpigmentation occurs in the first place to control and prevent it. The overproduction of melanin caused by either the sun, hormones, or any post-inflammatory response to the skin, creates dark patches or spots. Therefore, to fade hyperpigmentation, there are three principal components which include proper prevention, correction, and the thorough maintenance of a consistent treatment plan.

The production of melanin is in the lower levels of the skin, and the pigmentation process resembles that of an assembly line. Hyperpigmentation is the excess production of melanin by the melanocyte cells of our body. Specific triggers send signals to melanin sites which activate the enzyme tyrosinase. The stimulated tyrosinase encourages melanocytes to produce excess melanin creating darker pigment. The overproduction of melanin disperses upward in clumps that show as dark spots on the surface of the skin. The sooner you prevent and correct for hyperpigmentation on the skin, the better the results. As skin ages, your body’s melanin distribution becomes more spread out, and darker spots begin to appear on your skin. To effectively treat hyperpigmentation a comprehensive approach that includes both in-office and at home skin care regimen is necessary to control and fade it.

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It is best to see a dermatologist for a skin analysis. Your doctor can assess your skin type and find the main culprits behind the discoloration. Furthermore, your dermatologist can put you on the most appropriate skin care regimen, as well as do a thorough skin check to search for any signs of skin cancer due to UV damage like melanoma. The three types of hyperpigmentation are melasma, freckles (age spots) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and all three have various effective treatment options available that are also specific to your skin tone and type.

Lastly, it is imperative to wear a Daily Physical Full Broad Spectrum SPF 30 and above zinc dioxide sunscreen in preventing, treating and correcting hyperpigmentation. It also lessens the chances of future hyperpigmentation from occurring.

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