Skin discolouration – how to prevent and treat?

We start the fall season and change our care routine with it. Lower temperatures and much less exposure to the sun are conducive to the performance of such aesthetic treatments that we gave up in the summer. For many women and men, the beginning of autumn is also a time of intensive skin regeneration after holidays and often removing the negative effects of sunlight. Such an unwanted “memento” of the past summer is skin discolouration, for which, fortunately, aesthetic medicine finds solutions.

Skin discolouration is visible, for example, as freckles or spots darker than our natural skin colour, and is most common on the skin of the face and places that have been exposed to too much sun. The effect of intensive tanning is the increased production of melanin – a responsible component, among other things, for the natural colour of our skin – to darken the epidermis and protect the skin, and thus protect our body against the harmful effects of sunlight. It can therefore be said that the production of melanin and a tan can be the body’s natural defence against UV rays.

The effect of intense sunbathing is abnormal local accumulation of melanin, which is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. The process of melanin synthesis in our body is quite complicated and there are many factors that can disturb it, resulting in skin discolouration. The immediate accumulation of melanin may be caused by the above-mentioned excessive exposure to the sun, but also by health problems such as hormonal disorders, malfunctioning of the adrenal glands and ovaries when using hormonal contraception, as well as during pregnancy and menopause. 

The shape of skin discolouration can take many forms. Some are more gentle, such as freckles, which can even be our advantage and add charm, but there are also those that require specialist treatment due to their unsightly appearance and the cause of complexes. 

  • Freckles are small points that appear most often on the face around the cheeks and nose, as well as on the arms, hands and neck, they become darker and more visible after exposure to the sun’s rays;
  • Melasma, the so-called chloasma, is a more intense type of discolouration that occurs around the forehead, near the hairline and around the mouth, giving the face a “mask” effect. This is the type of skin discolouration that is common in pregnant women and women using hormonal contraception;
  • Lentil stains are discolourations that occur on the skin of the face, hands and forearms. They arise mainly due to exposure to the sun, and they differ from freckles in larger sizes and a more clearly defined shape. 

It is also worth emphasizing the fact that the effect of skin discolouration may also be the result of taking medications that cause photo-allergic reactions. This happens when some drug ingredients come into contact with substances in the blood, causing allergic skin reactions such as erythema or rash, but it can also cause discolouration. Among the drugs are:

  • the previously mentioned hormonal drugs, including contraceptives,
  • sulfonamides,
  • oral antidiabetic drugs,
  • antihypertensive and circulatory drugs,
  • some antibiotics,
  • certain painkillers (especially NSAIDs)
  • antiparasitic drugs
  • psychotropic, sedative and neurological drugs
  • antiallergic drugs,
  • bactericidal and antifungal drugs.

Remember to always read the leaflet before taking any medications and check whether their use may expose you to allergic reactions when exposed to UV radiation.

Of course, aesthetic medicine comes with help and a number of different methods of fighting skin discolouration, among which every person struggling with this problem will find a solution that is right for them. Home remedies to fight discolouration by using brightening and color-leveling cosmetics may not be enough, then you should seek the help of a specialist – a dermatologist who, using professional products, will be able to reach the deep layers of the skin and gradually remove discolouration, restoring the skin to its natural colour. It is frequently a long process, so we have to be patient and systematically follow the doctor’s recommendations.

Modern aesthetic medicine offers a solution to many skin problems, but remember that prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, let’s not forget about the daily, proper care of our skin and protection from solar radiation. Fall and winter does not mean we can say goodbye to sunscreens until the next summer season! We use photoprotective cosmetics all year round, appropriately adjusting their degree of protection to the current conditions.