Beauty Skin Advice - Brown Spots (What Causes Them and How To Treat Them)

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Copyright (c) 2011 Ann Sandretto

As we age, we realize that the beauty skin advice we received in our 20's and 30's should have been heeded. But, most of us don't, and as a result of excessive exposure to the sun, many of us develop brown spots.

Brown spots, also known as age spots, dark spots, suns spots, liver spots, lentigines, and lentigos, which are concentrations of melanin triggered by unprotected exposure to the sun over a long period of time. These brown spots are also called "hyper pigmentation".

What Causes Brown Spots: Sun exposure, aging, genetics, hormone imbalance, pregnancy, stress, improper skin care, menopause, post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation, liver disease, birth control pills, acne, and harsh chemicals.

Brown spots are caused by a combination of sun damage and hormone imbalance, which regulates the production of melanin. Sun destroys collagen and elastin and, as a result, the skin may become rougher and cause formation of brown, reddish spots due to the excess melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives color to the skin and hair, and helps protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun but increased amounts of melanin often result in dark, brown spots.

How To Treat Brown Spots

There are several ways methods for treating brown spots:

Laser Surgery

Chemical Peel


At-Home Procedures

Laser surgery - is the fastest and easiest way to get rid of brown spots. A laser generates an intense beam of light, which is absorbed by oxyhemoglobin (bright red blood cells carrying oxygen and melanin), causing decomposition of unwanted cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Laser treatment is more comfortable and requires less recovery time than some other treatment methods. In 70% of the cases, the brown spots are completely removed after one treatment.

Chemical Peel - is a safe and effective form of treatment. An acid is used to remove the surface layer of the damaged skin with light peeling. After the treatment, the dead skin peels away, allowing healthier, cleared skin to emerge. The acids typically used in this type of peel are natural fruit acids; otherwise known as alpha hydroxyl acids. The chemical peel will lighten brown spots and ever out irregularities in pigmentation to give the skin a more uniform color.

Microdermabrasion - This procedure uses highly controlled vacuum and pressure to move microscopically abrasive aluminum oxide crystals over the surface of the skin. By gently abrading the skin with ultra-fine crystal particulates, microdermabrasion can reduce unwanted brown spots and is absolutely painless.

At Home Procedures - there are several different at-home procedures that can be used:

Exfoliation - The best way to treat brown spots is through regular exfoliation, which removes the dead skin cells and oil. If you don't remove these cells regularly, they can clog your pores and make your skin look dull and patchy, which will worsen hyper pigmentation. Look for exfoliators that contain alpha hydroxyl acid, beta hydroxyl acid, and Retin A as they expedite the progression of pigmented cells to the surface and ultimate removal.

Wear sunscreen - As we said earlier, the sun destroys collagen and elastin and is a leading cause of brown spots. Daily use of a sunscreen will also help resolve the brown spots more quickly. The sunscreens deliver long-lasting moisture where it is required, vitamin D and E to combat the free radicals, help prevent premature aging, ensure a more even and long-lasting tan, and prevent the formation of new brown spots.

Lightening Creams - Look for a face cream containing hydroquinone (an agent that bleaches and fades darkened skin and slows the production of melanin). It will also reduce the appearance of brown spots and other skin discolorations, normalize pigment production, fade freckles, remove small pimple scars, and combat pigment changes caused by pregnancy and medications.

Lemon Juice - This is the easiest and cheapest method of reducing brown spots as it is a natural bleach. Apply bottled lemon juice, or the juice of a lemon, to the spots with your fingers This method works best on smaller brown spots because the citric acid in the juice isn't that strong.

Hydrogen Peroxide - This is a little stronger than lemon juice. Look for a solution of 3%-3.5% of peroxide. Note: There are industrial strength solutions of 30%-35% but they are not meant to have contact with the skin.

Fruit & Vegetable Masques - Those made with apricots, strawberries, cucumbers, and red currant are the best.

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