Treat dark spots and skin pigmentations

Treat dark spots and skin pigmentations


In the context of anti-aging, we are talking about brown spots that increase with age, mainly due to oxidation phenomena caused by UV rays from the sun. They are also called pigmentary or actinic spots. They therefore appear mainly on the face, neckline or hands. These are deposits of melanic pigments (melanin) in the dermis.

To reduce or even eliminate them, several processes are possible in Integral Anti-Aging Medicine (AIM):

– the cosmetic preparations depigmenting

exfoliations or peels : we will mainly choose fruit acids, the other exfoliating substances being potentially toxic (hydroquinone, phenol, trichloroacetic acid, etc.)

– the intense pulsed light where the lasers pigmentary.

In most cases, it is a question of forcing the renewal of the stained skin to obtain new skin, after destruction of the part containing the pigments (deposits of melanin).

Depigmenting or lightening cosmetics

Creams, serums, masks, these are products containing specific active ingredients capable of reducing the production of skin pigments and promoting their elimination. These products are effective if they are used long enough, and if you absolutely combine sun protection.

In integral anti-aging medicine, lightening cosmetic preparations are most often combined before and/or after gentle exfoliating treatments to complete them or to prepare the skin. Cosmetic preparations alone, although interesting, have limited effectiveness.

Some plants have depigmenting properties: mulberry, parsley, licorice, aloe vera, carrot, celery, lemon, etc. Some products that remain “natural” exist in pharmacies, sometimes combining them with various lightening agents such as kojic acid (from fermentation of rice malt), malic acid and glycolic acid (fruit acids)…

Peels against pigment spots

Gentle fruit acid peels

These low-concentrate fruit acid peels are our favorite. They are not the most powerful. They must be repeated several times to obtain a good result. On the other hand, they are not very aggressive for the skin and devoid of toxic effects. Their use is not restrictive in everyday life.

One of the most widely used fruit acids is glycolic acid, but there are others: malic acid, phytic acid, citric acid, etc. This type of peeling is part of the “gentle peelings” which are carried out in several successive sessions. (3 to 6 on average).

gentle forehead peelingThe doctor applies the acid preparation to the entire area, emphasizing the stained parts, and lets it act for a few minutes. Then the skin is well rinsed and moisturized. The application of a cream with antioxidant active ingredients is interesting (vitamin C, A, selenium, etc.).

With this type of peeling, the desquamation (when peeling) is microscopic and therefore almost invisible. It is done during the following days. Sometimes, there are consequences evoking a sunburn, little more. The result comes gradually and creams or depigmenting preparations are used daily between sessions.

This method is chosen against spots scattered all over the face, rather light and/or when you want to improve the quality of the skin at the same time (refine the grain, general radiance, etc.). The results are frankly good if the protocol is followed to the end, over a period of Several weeks.

Other peels

Other more powerful peels use stronger acid solutions (salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, etc.) or phenol. A single session may be sufficient, but the consequences are more troublesome (more or less long scabs), healing treatments, etc. They can, of course, have spectacular effects, but they involve significant risks and must be reserved for severe cases.

Flash lamps and pigment lasers

Today, doctors have pulsed light devices (or IPL or flash lamp) and pigment lasers that manage to destroy with distinction the pigmented part of the skin without damaging the surrounding healthy skin. Their efficiency/safety ratio is better than the old applications of dry ice or liquid nitrogen.

flash lamp on brown spotsThe aftermath is also simpler: the spots darken for a few days, then the skin thickens and peels to give way to new skin in 1 to 2 weeks. It takes 1 to 3 sessions to see the dark pigment spots due to the sun disappear. It is a powerful treatment, faster than gentle peels but with a little more aftermath (sometimes slight scabs). With the laser or the lamps, you can also just treat one or two spots in isolation.

Often, the best results are obtained by treating the darkest and oldest spots with intense pulsed light (or pigment laser) and by combining a few gentle peels on the entire face (and neck and décolleté if necessary) .

Indications and contraindications

First of all, the doctor must make a diagnosis and make sure that the spots are not cancerous lesions skin. We avoid treating brown spots during pregnancy because of the harmful influence of the hormonal field.

In the case of pulsed light or laser treatments, the skin must not be tanned, otherwise there is a risk of residual depigmentation (white spots).

Finally, it should be noted that pregnancy or hormonal disorder masks, melasma and spots due to post-inflammatory pigmentation (after injury or sting, for example) are not due to sun exposure (although this worsen). They react less well to lasers and lamps.

Treating brown spots in integral medicine

The integrated anti-stain treatment

The approach that seems to us the most reassuring, not using toxic substances and effective, is the following:

– use of a depigmenting cosmetic for 1 to 3 months: it will use natural products, plant extracts, essential oils, aloe vera gel, possibly associated with non-toxic active ingredients (without hydroquinone), specific preparations can be made according to each person

– 2 to 3 applications of laser or pulsed light if some spots are darker, older or isolated

– 3 to 6 sessions of gentle peels with fruit acids.

Since these brown spots are linked to exposure to UV rays, it will be necessary to avoid sun exposure after these treatments if you do not want them to reappear. Also, it will be necessary to use sun protection regularly, and to understand that the abuse of the sun or UV rays is harmful to the skin. It is enough to note that our skin, in the areas not exposed to light, does not have brown spots.

On a general level: fight against oxidation

Since actinic brown spots are most often a sign of tissue oxidation, it will be good to ensure that you do not lack antioxidants in your diet. It will also be necessary to avoid what promotes this excessive oxidation: UV, tobacco, alcohol, pollution, overcooked food, vitamin deficiencies, etc.

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