Published: 01/14/2014 - Updated: 02/08/2016
Not all spots on the skin are the same. In fact, not all appear for the same reason either: Some may be genetic, while others may be manifestations of a disease or indeed due to exposure to the sun.
Spots consist of an uneven production of melanin, which causes the focussed discoloration in a specific area, and age, sun exposure, hormonal disorders, pregnancy, use of computers and laptops, cellphones and ultraviolet sources in general are the main causes.
Areas that usually have more spots, or are more susceptible to them, are those that are exposed, such as the neck, face, hands, and chest.
Stains or discolorations can cause discomfort and affect the self-esteem of the person.
Also known as age spots, usually have a round or oval shape, and appear slightly beige at first but tend to darken over time. Their appearance is attributed to exposure to sunlight without protection, so usually occur in exposed skin areas such as hands, face, hands, shoulders, legs and even back. Fair skin and redheads are more prone to develop them and they usually appear around age 50, but may occur earlier if a person is excessively exposed to the sun.
They are spots that usually appear symmetrically on the face and tend to be brown. They often occur on the cheeks, forehead, chin and upper lip. They have irregular edges and a dark color which is variable. It is estimated that they affect around 50% to 70% of pregnant women and from 5-34% in women using contraceptives, it is therefore related to hormones and the presence of estrogen.
These are small spots which present themselves throughout the yea and are intensified by sun exposure. However, after the hot season they will disappear or significantly lighten in colour. They are usually common in people with light skin and hair.
To prevent skin discoloration, it is important to use a product with SPF daily, or whenever you are exposed to the sun. Sunscreen's function is to prevent the sun's rays from reaching your skin directly. You can also protect yourself from the sun by wearing glasses, using umbrellas and hats and choosing a skin protection product that best suits your needs.
Not all discolorations are indicative of skin cancer. However, it is a distinct possibility and so there are some symptoms of which we must be aware of in moles, for example if they change abruptly in size or colour. Also, if you notice a mole or spot growing, bleeding or itching, consult a dermatologist.
There is some genetic tendency to develop spots or have many moles. If you have this tendency it is recommended that you do a regular check with a specialist, especially if you notice any changes in your moles. Also, you should check if there is a history of skin cancer in your family.
How do you combat them?
Today there are several creams that can lighten the skin and combat blemishes. However, success depends on how long you take to treat them, that is the longer they remain untreated, the more difficult it is to treat, so it is recommended to treat them quickly when you first notice them.
There are other methods you might find useful, such as chemical peels, pulsed light procedures, the use of CO2, or fractional laser treatment that offers a quick fix, usually in a single session.