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January 31, 2020

How do pigment spots develop and what helps to prevent them?

Removing pigment spots with laser treatmentNo one has completely flawless skin. According to estimates, pigmented changes in the skin can be found in around 90 percent of Germans. Pigment spots that are characterized by reddish, brownish or ochre tones are usually harmless and do not generally need to be removed from a medical point of view. However, some people perceive the skin discoloration as a cosmetic blemish. Particularly on the face, those affected are often bothered by the discoloration. Where pigment spots come from and how you can have your have your pigment spots removed is revealed in the following article. 

(Image: © ak – stock.adobe.com)

The different types of pigment spots

The term pigment spots covers various skin changes that can vary in terms of their typical shape and color. The best-known pigment changes include age spots, moles, melasma and freckles. The latter in particular can fade slightly in the winter months when there is less sunlight and then become more visible again in summer.

How are pigment spots formed?

There are various causes that can lead to pigment spots. Their formation is partly genetically determined. Hormones can also cause hyperpigmentation to occur. During pregnancy or when taking the contraceptive pill, women often notice melasma (discolored patches of skin). Furthermore, high sun exposure is one of the main reasons that can cause pigmentation on the skin.

Despite the various possible triggers, pigment spots usually develop in the same way. This is because the body’s own skin pigment melanin is responsible for the color change. If the aforementioned causes trigger a localized overproduction of melanin, this results in a pigment spot.

Can pigment spots suddenly appear and disappear again?

Some hyperpigmentations characterize the skin from birth. Others only develop in the course of life. Pigment spots can also appear quite suddenly. In some cases, it may be advisable to have these rapid skin changes examined by a doctor. It is also possible for pigment spots to fade or disappear completely on their own. However, many pigmented changes in the skin require targeted treatment in order to remove them safely and effectively.

What helps against pigment spots?

Harmless pigment spots can be treated in a variety of ways. Ideally, those affected should not see them as a flaw, but as a personal touch. However, this is not always successful. If individual pigment spots are considered disturbing, they can be concealed using make-up or special concealers, for example. This can be very difficult with very dark pigment spots. Bleaching agents are also available on the market to help fade pigmentation spots. Special care must be taken here. The products may not have the desired effect or may even cause severe skin irritation. Such “self-experiments” or other home remedies are not advisable. Instead, a dermatologist should be consulted if the pigmentation spots are bothersome in order to remove them.

Laser treatment for pigment spots

In medicine, pigment spots are removed using either a scalpel or a punch under local anesthesia. In the case of harmless, benign skin changes, laser treatment can also be carried out to make the pigment spots disappear. Light-based energy, which is emitted into the tissue, causes the unwanted color particles in the skin to burst. They are then naturally absorbed by the body and appear much paler, in some cases they disappear completely. This “pigment laser” (the Revlite® laser) is not only suitable for treating unwanted pigment spots, but can also be used to fade tattoos that are no longer wanted.

Find out more about tattoo removal using modern laser technology here.

A second option for treating pigmentation disorders is ablative laser treatment. It is suitable for removing raised skin lesions such as benign moles. The laser removes the pigmented tissue in a controlled manner by vaporizing the skin layer. For superficial applications, the procedure is relatively painless even without additional anesthesia. If it is necessary for the treatment to penetrate into deeper layers of the skin, the area is anesthetized locally.

You can find out more about how pigment spot lasering in Berlin works and how it works in a personal and no-obligation consultation at our Weißensee skin center or at our korsmedic practice .

Chemical peeling against pigment spots

Unwanted pigmentation on the skin such as age spots can also be removed with the help of a professional peeling treatment can also be reduced. During a chemical peel, the doctor applies a special substance tailored to the respective skin and the desired result. This causes the upper layers of the skin to peel off over time, revealing fresher skin cells underneath. Depending on the extent of the pigmentation disorder, several treatment sessions may be necessary to achieve the desired treatment success.

Tips for healthy skin with as few pigmentation spots as possible

  • Make sure you use adequate sun protection and avoid sunburns, as these can promote pigmentation spots and also increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Consult a dermatologist for advice on suitable skin care. The “wrong” products, too many different substances or too frequent applications (e.g. peelings) can cause the skin structure to become thinner and more sensitive.
  • Avoid going to the solarium, as the additional UV exposure can damage the skin in the long term.
  • Certain medications can trigger pigment spots. If necessary, ask your doctor for advice on possible alternatives.
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