6 Surprising Facts About Dark Spots
In the dark about the causes, treatment and prevention of dark spots? Here are six things you didn't know about the biggest skin care problem for Latinas
According to Dr. Elson Lai, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, the causes of what we call age spots are hormonal changes and sun exposure. "When [women] are pregnant, that's when they get a lot of 'age spots' or 'liver spots," he explains. (This condition is more precisely referred to as melasma, and can also occur as a side effect of taking birth control pills.)
If hormones aren't to blame, dark spots on the face are typically the result of sun damage. Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist based in New York, explains, "Radiation from the sun causes pigmentation on the skin, which is the body's defense mechanism to protect the skin from further damage." Older people have accumulated more sun damage than younger folk, which is why these patchy discolorations are associated with aging.
Another important thing to remember, says Lai: Dark spots, brown spots, liver spots, age spots and melasma are essentially the same thing, which is hyperpigmentation, or the presence of excess melanin in the skin.
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