Most people know that melanin is the source of skin pigment but they don’t know why certain areas darken. Actually there are minor changes in your skin cells that produce melanin, called melanocytes. After it is produced, melanin is stored in a carrier called a melanosome. The melanosome is then released from the melanin producing cell to a regular skin cell, called a kerati-nocyte. Hyperpigmentation problems are either caused or exacerbated by sun damage, inflammation, acne, people with darker Asian, Mediterranean, African Americans or Latin women skin tones are also more prone to hyperpigmentation, especially if they have excess sun exposure. Hyperpigmentation occurs when pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) become more active than normal, which leads to the production of more pigment (melanin).
Photoaging; UV and degradation of collagen
Photoaging is thus also known as aging of the skin of the face, ears, neck and hands, caused by UVA and UVB rays.
UVB rays are shorter than UVA rays, and are the main culprit behind sunburn. But it is the UVA rays, with their
longer wavelength, that are responsible for much of the damage we associate with photoaging. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, where they damage the collagen fibers. This damage causes increased production of abnormal elastin. The unusual amounts of elastin result in the production of enzymes called metalloproteinases. These enzymes, which rebuild damaged collagen, often malfunction and degrade the collagen, resulting in incorrectly rebuilt skin. Many forms of hyperpigmentation are caused by an excess production of Melanin; As this process is repeated with daily UVA exposure, the incorrectly rebuilt skin forms wrinkles, and the depleted collagen results in leathery skin.
Age spots are flat, brown, gray spots on the skin. They usually occur on areas that have been exposed to the sun, these small-to-medium brown areas multiply as you get older, popping up most often on the face, hands, and chest all places with maximum exposure to sun. Age spot caused by UV radiation produces mutations, local inflammation and other changes that increase local proliferation of melanocytes and/or activate melanin-producing genes. Actually age spots start long before you ever see it. If you look at your skin under a wood lamp, you will likely see spots that aren’t visible yet.
Melasma is a condition characterized by increased tan-like skin pigmentation typically having uneven, patchy distribution. Chloasma is a variant of melasma occurring mainly in women and associated with increased levels of certain hormones. Chloasma may be triggered by pregnancy, oral contraceptives and occasionally other hormonal imbalances.
Uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation
Sun-damaged skin is showing up in people who didn’t think they needed to worry about it – those with darker skin. Rather than a few specific spots, this involves larger areas of pigmentation that make your skin look darker in some areas, lighter in others. For African Americans, uneven skin tone is one of the most common consequences of "getting too much sun." Uneven skin tone can range from mild to dramatic, depending on the original color of your skin. Because darker skin tones naturally have more melanin, hyper-pigmentation is more pronounced and although Latin women have varying skin tones, they are often prone to more noticeable and long-lasting changes that are more difficult to treat.
The most devastating outcome of sun-exposure is, of course, skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma is the type of skin cancer most likely to affect people of color who have been exposed to the sun. This type of skin cancer is most likely to appear on the head, face and neck. The major concern with darker-skinned people is that it’s not as easily detected at an early stage. [Even though most spots are caused — or exacerbated — by the sun, they take different forms]. See a dermatologist if a new kind of skin change shows up (to rule out anything dangerous such as melanoma).
These are dark spots that develop after pimples, bug bites, or other flare-ups, and then stubbornly remain long after the initial inflammation has healed.
Age Spots/Danger Spots
Melanin is a defense mechanism to protect itself from danger. The darker the spots, the more likely that your skin has been trying prevent something “dangerous”. Your body senses the danger and reacts to it.
Minimize Sun damage and dark spot
There are certain things that seem to speed up the process of creating and transferring melanin. The production of melanin requires an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is like a tool that used for making melanin. When tyrosinase increases, melanin production increases. This is important because many skin lightening products actually block the tyrosinase enzyme.
Sun damage Prevention
Prevention of sun-damage is important, no matter what your age. Even if you’re older and already have some damage, it’s still critical that you prevent further harm”. We strongly advises year-round use of sun screens and Sunsara antioxidant day serums combines vitamins C & E along with other antioxidants that can be applied under sunscreens, is particularly effective, and protecting your skin from getting clogged with mineral based sunscreen. Reapply your sunscreen often if you’re out in the sun, at minimum every two hours. And make sure that the sunscreen contains a physical block like zinc oxide and or titanium dioxide. Both these protect against UVA/UVB rays.
It's Not Too Late!
Whenever you start protecting yourself from the sun, yo will stop the process of additional damage and start to reverse,
to some extent, what you've already accumulated. Prevention should also include a skin care routine.“I see clients who have taken good care of themselves, their sun damage is minimal". Your preventative protection should includes cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sun protector every day. We suggest our medical grade microdermabrasions monthly treatment and use of Sunsara Radiance Collection, target: uneven skin tones, age spots, sun damage and acne marks.
Harmful effects of chemical skin bleaching
It is now known that chemical bleaching can lead to serious skin and health conditions which include: permanent skin bleaching, thinning of skin, uneven color loss, leading to a blotchy appearance, redness and intense irritation, dark grey, white spots, skin cancer, and acne. The possible side effects of using products that contain hydroquinone, corticosteroids or mercury include: skin becoming darker or too light, thinning or showing visible blood vessels; scarring; kidney, liver or nerve damage.
Many skin whiteners contain toxic mercury such as mercury (II) chloride or ammoniated mercury, hydroquinone and steroids as the active ingredient. Negative side effect: Accumulates in skin and it can have the opposite results in the long term. Some studies suggest that long-term use could cause systemic absorption that leads to tissue accumulation of the substance.
Overusing skin-bleaching products can cause irreversible damage, and the skin might not return to its original condition even after bleaching has stopped. Bleaching products strip the skin of melanin, which makes it more sensitive to the sun, meaning you need to cover up with clothing and not just sun protection; otherwise you increase your risk of skin cancer.