T 030 34 34 70 70  Arrange Appointment online
July 17, 2020

Are pigment spots dangerous?

Laser treatment of pigment spotsPigment spots adorn everyone’s skin – some have more, some have fewer. These include freckles, moles, age spots and birthmarks. In medicine, they are referred to as hyperpigmentation, among other things. The majority of pigment spots are harmless to health and are at most perceived as cosmetically unattractive. However, some of the brownish skin discolorations can also have a pathological cause or degenerate over time. It is therefore very important that people with very light skin and/or numerous pigment spots in particular regularly check their skin themselves and have it examined by an expert.

(Image: © zoommachine – stock.adobe.com)

What causes pigment spots?

A certain type of skin cell (melanocytes) is responsible for the development of pigment spots. They produce the skin pigment melanin, which tans the skin and thus protects it from UV radiation, for example. Solar radiation activates the production of melanin. If individual areas of skin are exposed to a lot of sun or UV radiation, pigment spots can develop. Pigment spots can also occur due to individual predisposition.

Other factors influencing pigment spots are female hormones, which is why the typical brownish skin spots can occur when using contraceptive pills containing oestrogen. Hormonal changes also occur during pregnancy, which can affect the appearance of the skin and promote pigmentation spots. Certain medications, such as antibiotics, can also lead to more pigmentation spots.

Examination according to the ABCDE rule

The so-called ABCDE rule is suitable for keeping an eye on and assessing your own skin pigmentation.

A – Asymmetries: As a rule, brownish skin patches are roundish, oval or elongated. However, if a pigmentation has an uneven, asymmetrical shape, this may indicate a harmful skin change. It is also possible that not only new pigment spots develop unevenly, but that existing skin spots change their shape.

B – Boundary: Another sign of a possible risk of disease is unclear boundaries in skin spots. If the edges of a darker skin spot are blurred or if they merge unevenly or jaggedly into the healthy skin area, the area should be examined by a dermatologist.

C – Color (coloration): You should keep an eye on pigmentation that is not evenly colored, but contains lighter and darker colors. You should also be careful with pink or black dots in the paints. The same applies to crusty deposits.

D – Diameter: Have pigmentations with a diameter greater than five millimeters checked.

E – Evolution: By regularly examining your pigmentation marks, you can also determine whether a pigmentation spot is changing. If you notice that the appearance of a mole changes, have it examined by a dermatologist.

Skin cancer screening at the dermatologist

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in Germany. Most cases occur in older people (75 to 80 years), but younger people can also be affected. The greatest risk factor is high exposure to the sun. Sunburns in particular can increase the risk of skin cancer.

When treating skin cancer, the stage or severity is decisive. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better the chances of recovery. From the age of 35 at the latest, statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of an annual skin cancer screening. From a specialist’s point of view, the annual check-up should be carried out from the age of 18 at the latest (possibly as a self-pay service) in order to rule out possible risks or to detect and treat them at an early stage. During skin cancer screening, the doctor takes a close look at each pigment mark and checks it for any abnormalities.

Optimal prevention: sun protection

UV rays penetrate the skin layers and damage the tissue and genetic material. Some injuries and irritations are noticeable or visible. This includes sunburn, for example. Other changes affect the deeper layers of the skin and are not immediately noticeable. The human body can repair damage to a certain extent. However, individual damaged cells may remain. They carry the risk of developing into malignant skin changes (skin cancer).

In addition to regular skin examinations, sun protection is one of the best preventative measures. At best, the skin should not be exposed to direct UV radiation; the midday sun in particular is considered to be very intense. Apply a high sun protection factor (SPF) to uncovered areas of skin in order to provide the skin with optimum protection against UV rays. We recommend SPF 30 for everyday use and SPF 50 and higher for longer periods in the sun and leisure activities.

Minimally invasive treatment of benign skin changes

Malignant or suspicious skin pigmentation is usually removed surgically. Benign skin changes that are perceived by those affected as disturbing or unaesthetic, on the other hand, can usually be treated minimally invasively. Even discolorations such as sun or age spots can be reduced, for example, using a laser technique in which light-based energy “breaks up” the melanin in the skin. The body then breaks down the pigment naturally so that the areas become lighter.

Raised pigmentation such as moles can be removed using ablative laser technology. The benign moles are removed through the targeted removal of the top layer of skin by vaporization (without burning).

We would be happy to advise you in our practice on the two treatment options for disturbing pigmentation of the skin.

Share: / / /

Hautzentrum Weissensee Dr. Kors · Schönstraße 5 · 13086 · Berlin-Weißensee · T 030 34 34 70 70 · ­F 030 34 34 70 72 8

IMPRINT   DATA PROTECTION  Praxis für Dermatologie & Ästhetik ✓ Schwerpunkte: Allergolgogie, Laserbehandlung & Proktologie ✓   TALKING HOURS