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April 23, 2021

Causes, prevention and treatment of pigment spots

Pigment spot removal in Berlin
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Pigment spots are a widespread phenomenon. As soon as our skin comes into contact with the sun or UV radiation, certain processes are set in motion in the body. This increases the production of the skin pigment melanin, which causes the skin to take on a brownish color. The brown coloration of the skin is a natural protective mechanism that is intended to shield against further influences from UV radiation. A locally very high production of melanin can ultimately also lead to pigment spots.

The possible effects of UV radiation should by no means be underestimated. Daily sun protection is therefore all the more important to provide optimum support for the skin. In addition to sunlight, other factors can also lead to the development of pigment spots. What these are and what options are available, remove pigment spots in this blog post.

Congenital pigment spots

There are different types and forms of pigment spots. The best known include birthmarks, moles and freckles. A predisposition to these hyperpigmentations can mean that some pigment spots have been present since birth or early childhood. Pigment spots are usually harmless and are at most perceived as an aesthetic nuisance. In some cases, however, the skin characteristics can change over time and indicate a skin cancer, for example. For this reason, moles in particular should be regularly examined and observed dermatologically. The statutory regulation provides for an examination every two years. Dermatologists, on the other hand, recommend annual skin cancer screenings – of course, the annual screenings can be carried out as a self-payer service (IGeL).

Other reasons for pigment spots

As already mentioned, pigment spots are the result of increased melanin production. This can be caused by hormonal influences, for example. The female hormones oestrogen and progesterone are the main players here. Pigmentation may develop on the skin during pregnancy. Sometimes they disappear after pregnancy, but often they can only be removed with dermatological treatment if the patient is bothered by them. Especially when pigment spots appear on the face, they are often perceived as negative and unaesthetic by those affected.

Furthermore, injuries to the skin can lead to a pigment shift occurring in the corresponding areas. They are referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentations. They often occur after inflammatory reactions (e.g. B. Acne, psoriasis ) or through wounds. The inflammation stimulates the skin cells that produce melanin (melanocytes) to emit excessive amounts of pigment granules. Depending on the skin color and the depth of the discoloration, the changes can appear pink, red, brown or black and can be either punctiform or extensive. The skin discoloration usually remains for a long time after healing or does not disappear on its own.

Another factor is the natural ageing process or regular contact with sunlight over a longer period of time. As a result, the activity of the melanocytes increases. This can lead to so-called age spots, which many women and men characterize as unsightly. In the course of life, age spots form mainly in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun: Face, neck, décolleté and the back of the hands. With regular and high sun exposure, however, they can also appear all over the body.

Is it possible to prevent pigmentation spots?

Some pigment spots are congenital and therefore cannot be prevented. Contact with sunlight cannot be completely avoided either. Similarly, other factors such as hormonal fluctuations cannot be controlled or prevented in every case. There is therefore no patent remedy that can provide one hundred percent protection against pigment changes.

However, we can take care to protect the skin as well as possible from UV radiation and provide optimal care. Adequate sun protection therefore provides a good basis for supporting skin health. In everyday life, sun protection with at least sun protection factor 30 should be applied. For outdoor activities, creams with SPF 50 and higher should be used. It is also important to consider sun protection regardless of the weather or season, as UV rays reach our skin even in winter and when it is cloudy. Existing pigment spots or moles should also be checked regularly by a dermatologist (once a year).

Treat pigment spots with gentle laser therapy

Benign skin changes can be removed in our skin center using laser treatment. After a detailed medical examination and analysis by Dr. Kors, a decision is made as to whether the treatment is suitable for the individual case. Raised pigment spots (including protruding moles) can be removed using an ablative laser technique in which rapid pulses of light vaporize the upper layer of skin. Flat pigment spots are treated in our skin center with the Revlite® or KTP laser. The light-based energy emitted by the laser is absorbed by the pigment spots. The short and intensive heating of the pigment spots ensures that they break up into small pieces. These particles are then transported away or eliminated by the immune system with the help of macrophages (“scavenger cells”).

NOTE: According to the new legal regulation from January 2021, only licensed doctors are authorized to perform laser treatments. This results in greater safety for patients and fewer risks due to unprofessional applications.

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