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  Sun spots

by Dra. Ángeles Herráiz
published: December 24, 2004

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-.

The treatments chosen for this condition should include peels and depigmentation products. Depending on the intensity of the spots, we will do superficial and medium peels or just the former, already described in our article on face lines. These peels will be done for a few weeks in order to continue afterwards with depigmentation treatments. There are several in the market, but from my point of view the AMELAN treatment deserves special attention.

It serves mainly to vanish facial melasma spots.

  • This treatment produces quick depigmentation.
  • It can be done at any time of the year.
  • It iscompatible with all skin types.
  • You can sunbathe without risk of melasma spot reappearing again.
  • It is a safe treatment.

This is a two part treatment: the first at the clinic and the second at home. Skin may appear flushed looking like after an intense sun exposure, especially white skins. But this effect will disappear in a few days. From the 31st to the 41st day, skin starts looking healthy and bright and blemishes begin to fade away. In some cases it takes a month to obtain the desired final result.

It is necessary to apply a depigmentation cream daily at least for a year so that the blemish does not reappear. When outdours, a sun block should be used.

     
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS

  • Scars that will disappear in a few days.
  • Intense redness.
  • In 99% of the patients, fading of blemish reaches 95%. It is advisable to tell the patient that even when the blemish has practically disappeared, he might be able to find the place where it was before. It may even remain a very light shade that nobody is going to notice in most of the cases.
  • If the treatment with the depigmentation cream is interrupted, the blemish will reappear, as this treatment does not eliminate the tendency but only interrupts the production of melanin.

Also read
Envejecimiento facial: Arrugas por la Dra. Ángeles Herráiz Martínez
Peligros de la Radiación Ultravioleta por Maria Dolores Soler Martinez

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

IMA Instituto Médico Aranda
C/ López Aranda 24, 28027 Madrid
(Zona Arturo Soria)
Tel.: 91 320 19 92

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