Have you looked in the mirror to find that your skin has patches of dark splotches? Don’t worry they’re not cancerous but they are an early sign of sun damage. Commonly described as brown spots, these pigmented areas can actually be red or black as well as light and dark brown. They can appear on any part of the body including the face, hands, and neck, so essentially, anywhere exposed to sunlight.
Brown spots are also often referred to as age spots, sun spots, freckles and liver spots (though it is a misconception that these spots have anything do with your liver). While hyperpigmentation is the formal term for this skin condition.
Why do brown spots appear?
The overproduction of melanin, a pigment in your skin, is the cause of hyperpigmentation. It can affect anyone but is predominantly seen among ethnicities such as Asian, African, Mediterranean or Latin.
Brown spots are largely triggered by sun exposure, however, genetics, acne scarring, pregnancy or certain medications can also be a cause.
What can you do about it?
So now you know what those brown spots are, what can you actually do to stop them forming? It’s quite easy really. You’ve just got to make sure you’re always wearing SPF, even when it’s cloudy. You should be wearing SPF15 as an absolute minimum to protect your skin. Although, wearing SPF does not give you free reign to lie out in the sun for hours. You need to avoid excessively exposing your skin to the sun.
What’s more, it is very important that you exfoliate. A build up of dead skin cells can worsen the appearance of pigmentation as discolouration remains within these cells. So you should exfoliate up to 2-3 time a week, to help reduce the appearance of brown spots.