Pigment Spots: Harmless, but Annoying!

Although from a medical point of view the brown spots are harmless, visually they can be quite disturbing. There are many methods of treating them and one of the most modern is fractional laser technology.

Pigment spots commonly appear on the forehead, the cheek area and above the upper lip. Most hyperpigmentation spots are caused by exposure to sunlight and for this reason, frequently develop on the back of the hand or on the forearms, areas which often less protected against light. If someone has spent a lot of time in the sun, the first brown spots may already appear at the age of 35 or 40. The skin then often looks blotchy and prematurely aged.

Hormones and sun

“As with genetically caused freckles, these are caused by an excess of the pigment melanin. In both cases of over-pigmentation, the dark spots are intensified by UV radiation,” explains Dr. Sonja Sattler, founder and senior physician at Bellari Rosenpark in Frankfurt and Hamburg. Hormones can also have a lot to do with the development of pigment spots. These are then known as melasma or chloasma and are common during pregnancy, menopause, or during a hormone treatment to increase fertility. It is not known exactly how hormones promote the development of spots, but it is a fact that the combination of hormones, sun and blue light as well as genetic predisposition is the trigger. Once the spots are there, they stubbornly remain, even after the hormone balance has levelled off again. Certain types of medication, such as some antibiotics or St. John’s Wort preparations, can also cause hyperpigmentation under UV influence.

Prevention and treatment

Dr. Sattler therefore advises: “Because UV light, in combination with our skin memory, is responsible for the unsightly spots, anyone with a tendency towards pigment spots should, in general, choose a skin care preparation with a high sun protection factor (e.g. SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense 50+) for use during the day. If pigment spots are already visible and, depending on their severity, fruit acid peeling or laser combination treatments are suitable. “Bellari offers SkinCeuticals’ Pigment Balancing Peel as a professional cosmetic treatment. This is performed by trained beauticians who also provide recommendations for an appropriate follow-up care to achieve an optimal result. For more intensive effects, the most modern method is the fractionated laser. It can not only remove pigment spots, but red veins and wrinkles can be dealt with at the same time as well. “The fractional laser renews the skin surface and ensures the breakdown of increased melanin. In combination with a sieve-like damage of the dermis, the formation of new skin cells is stimulated without damaging the cells themselves. This results in a refinement of the facial skin – it appears fresher, smoother and thus also rejuvenated,” says Dr. Sattler.

Gentle to intensive

Depending on the degree of skin damage, the Bellari works with the gentle Emerge laser and the more intensive Icon laser. The light penetrates the skin to a more or lesser depth – with the corresponding effect. During the approximately 45-minute treatment, the dermatologist moves the laser handpiece several times in different directions over the face in order to achieve as uniform a result as possible. If a local anesthetic cream is applied beforehand, almost nothing is felt. After completion, the laser treatment is supplemented with the application of a high dosage vitamin preparation. Any ensuing slight redness or swelling can easily be concealed with make-up. Depending on the result and density of the pigment spots, laser treatment can be repeated. A strong sunscreen must be applied for four weeks before and after the treatment. Those who then wish to continue spending time in the sun will only remain permanently spot free with the consistent use of adequate UV protection.

Sponsored by Bellari

fractional laser, hyperpigmentation, Icon laser, melasma, pigment balancing peel

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