More annoying than wrinkles or sagging skin, spots can ruin our lives … All the solutions to get rid of pigment spots.
Article written in collaboration with L'Oréal Paris.
Brown spot, age spot, mask of pregnancy, melasma, solar lentigo… Behind the word "pigment spot" are hidden different scenarios. And a real anti-aging problem for women who are sorely lacking in radiance. Which treatments to choose? Which special depigmentation active to choose? What treatment for the dermatologist to adopt? One thing is certain, brown spots, we want to get rid of them as soon as possible!
Where do stains come from?
There is no such thing as a stain, but pigment spots that differ in shape, color and location.
… Clear and regular spots
Apart from genetics, the sun is primarily responsible for the appearance of spots. The specialists then speak in this case of solar lentigines, sun spots or age spots that appear after repeated sun exposure. These are the most frequent brown spots, linked to the sun and especially to an accumulation of exposure … therefore to aging and the passage of time. They are found on all exposed parts: the backs of the hands, neck, décolleté and face.
… Spots with an irregular outline
But the sun is not the only factor. Advancing age, the famous age spots, of course, but also taking certain estrogen-based treatments (such as the pill or treatments for menopause) or certain drugs (antidepressants, antibiotics, anti -inflammatory …) can cause the appearance of spots. These are spots linked to hormonal fluctuations. Another possibility: spots caused by post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation (acne scars or inflammatory lesions, such as hair removal for example). The concern with these spots is their aspect that is both unsightly (you have the impression of having a mustache or a chocolate stain on your upper lip) and above all … recurrent. Finally, pregnancy can also be a high risk period with the appearance of the famous pregnancy mask, also called chloasma or melasma. The difference ? The spots in this case have an irregular outline. We talk about "masks" because they are often symmetrical from side to side. The spots are there of a fairly large area. Very often, a person can combine the different types of spots (for example pregnancy mask and post-inflammatory spot) …
… from birth
In the family of spots, there are also birth pigments such as freckles or ephelids which are also accentuated with exposure to the sun. And, finally, moles in the form of flat spots, whose skin development should be watched.
How to remove pigment spots?
Cosmetics laboratories have been working on this issue for years. With, the key, specific products to reduce existing pigmentation and prevent new spots from forming. The principle is the use of depigmenting active ingredients, associated with strong sun protection. A curative and preventive duo against dark spots.
Spots darker than the skin are caused by an overproduction of melanin by cells called melanocytes. We all know melanin: when the skin is subjected to UV bombardment, it "tans" to protect itself. It is this same melanin that gives our hair its natural color. An enzyme called tyrosinase plays a role in making melanin and therefore tanning. But sometimes the tyrosinase goes out of order and produces too much melanin and especially in a disorderly way. It is this dysfunction that explains the appearance of spots in areas most often subject to sunlight: the cheeks, forehead, around the mouth, the neckline and the back of the hands. There are several known and recognized active ingredients that help block the action of tyrosinase. For example :
– Hydroquinone : a reference chemical molecule prescribed only by dermatologists.
– Arbutin : this plant active ingredient is used in cosmetics for its tyrosinase brake action.
– Kogic acid : from mushrooms, also plays on tyrosinase, even at very low doses.
– Azelaic acid : its lightening action allows to find a regular complexion. This antioxidant is also recognized for its action against acne.
– Licorice extract : with strong lightening power.
Another active ingredient of choice for removing stains: glycolic acid. Also known as hydroxyacetic acid, glycolic acid is the smallest of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). This derivative of sugar cane, grapes, beetroot and artichoke, can also be synthetic. Its advantages ? Its low molecular weight, which allows it to penetrate all layers of the skin, and its high tolerance, even on sensitive skin. Keratolytic, it eliminates dead cells and thus improves skin quality. For example, if you want to treat yourself to a new skin treatment at home, you can try a one-week ampoule cure concentrated at 10% glycolic acid Revitalift Laser Ampoules Peeling Effect 7 Day Cure 10% Glycolic Acid Oréal Paris. Highly concentrated, this treatment, easy to integrate into your beauty routine, restores a healthy glow and fights against the appearance of pigment spots. Its unbeatable price makes this treatment particularly attractive and accessible as a bonus.
Revitalift Laser Ampoules Peeling Effect 7 Day Cure 10% Glycolic Acid by L’Oréal Paris
Finally, for purists who rely on 100% natural active ingredients, rosehip vegetable oil effectively combats signs of aging, scars and spots. In this case, choose a vegetable oil, preferably organic, in order to benefit as much as possible from the beautiful skin benefits of this type of product.
Puressentiel organic rosehip vegetable oil
What treatment against spots in the dermatologist?
The dermatologist has several tools available to treat pigment spots depending on their location and intensity. In general, the dermatologist offers a tailor-made treatment combining the different techniques. Ideally, schedule sessions during the winter months (October to February) which are less sunny. Intense pulsed light or laser, recommended for fair skin, destroys melanocytes, by heating and producing small crusts on the surface of the skin which will then disappear… at the same time as the spot below! It takes at least two or three sessions spaced a few weeks apart to definitively get rid of the spots.
The dark spots are treated by the waves of the flash lamps which come to lighten them. Cryotherapy, with the application of very cold nitrogen, in a very localized manner, eliminates rather dark spots with well-defined edges. When the spots are small, it is more for peels or dermabrasion that professionals turn to. All these treatments require the adoption of compulsory sun protection during the minimum treatment time. The best: 50 SPF protection.
How to prevent the appearance of spots?
First, by protecting yourself from the sun: the only really effective way to avoid stains and protect yourself from UV radiation by choosing sunglasses offering protection against UVA and UVB rays. Ideally, apply it every morning in sunny months (March to September) and reapply during the day. Especially if you are having lunch on the terrace… Also beware of false friends such as the windshield in the car or the windows in the office which do not filter the rays.
Then by limiting skin attacks, such as waxing (around the edges of the lips, for example) which can cause inflammatory reactions and lead to pigment spots. This is the same phenomenon that can occur after episodes of acne breakouts and lesions.
And exfoliation in all of this?
Exfoliating regularly gives you a new skin. By accelerating surface cell renewal, by chasing away dead cells and browned cells, exfoliation helps to display prettier skin. Another advantage: the exfoliation, by cleaning the skin, allows the depigmenting active ingredients to penetrate better and therefore act better. As for exfoliating active ingredients, the most recognized are AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids. Despite their barbaric name, they are derived from fruit sugars (glycolic acid) or milk (lactic acid) and stimulate collagen synthesis while reducing pigment spots.
What type of care to choose against pigment spots?
The best is to play on the serum and cream tandem. The first, more concentrated in active ingredients, will be able to multiply the effects of the following treatment. For example, Thiamidol, which works at the source of hyperpigmentation by blocking the production of melanin.
For fans of organic skincare, know that recognized brands are not left out in the field of the fight against imperfections such as stains. For example, Patyka offers among other things a corrective serum in an organic formula with an exclusive complex containing Oxyresveratrol and Sea Fern that blocks the activity of tyrosinase in order to reduce the intensity of dark spots.
Also plan for several weeks' cures. Ideally in winter. These cures lighten the skin, restore radiance, regain a luminous complexion, with much less visible spots.
Secondly, you will apply a cream to moisturize your skin and restore comfort. If your skin is particularly dry, also consider oils, which can be a very effective way to nourish it. It is best to apply your anti-stain treatment at night, because it is at night that the body, at rest, will get the most benefit from it and work as effectively as possible.
And of course, remember to protect yourself well every day from the first rays of the sun … even under the mask! Choose high protection, ideally spf 50 index, minimum spf 30 and make sure you have double protection against UVB and UVA. Some references in this area even exist in a tinted version to replace, for example, the foundation. A good option when you know that a colored pigment can, if not permanently remove a stain, at least camouflage it during the day.
Do you have spots on your hands, your cleavage or another part of your body particularly exposed to UV and pollution? Know that all our advice is also valid for body care and that nothing prevents you from treating the problem locally with the same care or specific products. There are, for example, anti-stain hand creams and AHA-based body scrubs, which are particularly effective in removing dead cells and boosting cell renewal.
Patyka Perfect Anti-Dark Spot Correcting Serum
La Roche Posay Anthelios Pocket 50+ Sunscreen