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Sun spots

por Dra. Ángeles Herráiz
Publicado: 24/12/2004  

Dra. Ángeles Herráiz es Licenciada en Medicina y Cirugía por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid en su especialidad de medicina estética.

Face is our window to life and our letter of introduction

Skin actinic aging as a consequence of chronic sun exposure, spots due to excessive pigmentation and general problems of uneven skin tone as a result of melanin condition are nowadays very common issues.

Photoaging is a process that adds to the intrinsic skin aging and comes as a consequence of environmental exposure, especially to rays from sunlight. Time and degree of exposure during the whole life are main factors towards skin aging. Difference between exposed and non-exposed skin will be evident. Photoaging not only has cosmetic effects, but it also contributes to the photocarcinogenic effect of chronic exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight, generating pre-malignant and malignant damages.

The cells that produce melanin (pigment) are called melanocytes and are located in the basal layer of the epidermis. Their maturation produces melanin spots which are transferred to the nearby keratinocytes. Melanin reaches in this way the upper layers of epidermis.

Undoubtedly, prevention is the best treatment. That means reducing the time of sun exposure and using a sunscreen when outdoors, especially in those body areas which are continually exposed to the sun, mainly face, neck, neckline, hands and arms.

Once the spots have come up, they are examined with Wood’s light in order to determine the patient’s skin phototype (I, II, III, IV, V, VI), because we cannot treat in the same way patients with skin phototype I –very white- and patients with skin phototype VI -black-.

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