I think most of us have or have had skin issues.I know first hand how it feels to wish for perfect skin for me, my psoriasis on my body effect my self-esteem every day.
Over the last few months, I’ve been asked by several women to cover a subject, which is rarely mentioned but affects so many:
Brown spots on the face.
It’s important to understand that those brown or grey spots may not be melasma at all. Sometimes they are just freckles or age spots.
The truth is that all three conditions are caused by overactive pigment cells. These cells produce melanin, a substance that darkens the skin.
Freckles: are harmless, tiny brown spots that usually appear on sun-exposed areas early in life, and fade over time.
Age spots: look similar to freckles (often you’ll have an individual spot as opposed to a close cluster), but they are usually seen in women aged 30+
Melasma: is perhaps the most significant of these three hyperpigmentation conditions and can appear in a symmetrical cluster pattern over the face, neck, décolletage or shoulders.
With all three of these conditions, scientists found that problems occurred with skin pigmentation, and brown spots appeared when the body produced too little or too much melanin.
Melanin is a hormone produced by melanocytes, and it’s the pigment in the skin triggered by tyrosinase – an enzyme that determines our eye, skin and hair colour. If something causes an imbalance of the melanin production, the signs show in the discolouration of the skin.
It is worth noting that melasma and age spots are not an infection, so it’s not contagious, and it’s not due to an allergy either. The brown spots are not cancerous and will not develop into skin cancer.
The main causes of over/under stimulation of melanin production in women are:
a) The hormones released during pregnancy:
In some instances (pregnancy being the main one), it may not be possible to prevent melasma occurring; the hormones that have created the brown spots are also working at developing the foetus. It is likely that any dark pigmentation will gradually fade away post-pregnancy. To prevent the spots/Melasma becoming darker, apply an excellent UVA & UVB sun protectant every day – it’s important to protect your skin every day even on a cloudy winter’s day.
b) When taking the contraceptive pill:
It’s possible that the contraceptive pill causes darkened skin. We all have varying levels of hormones in our bodies, so it is likely that the pill may have affected your melatonin hormone levels. Should you find yourself developing brown spots, it might be worth talking through any concerns with your family planning doctor or nurse, to find out what your options are.
c) Unprotected exposure to the sun
Being careful when out in the sun is paramount, the damage from the sun’s UV rays is not always visible, in particular, UVA rays. UVA damage will happen beneath the skin’s layers and produce brown spots, fine lines and wrinkles over time. Prevention is so much easier than cure.
Everyone’s skin needs are different, but these tips will help you.
If you do have any brown spots already, by protecting them daily with a good quality SPF50 (broad spectrum UVA & UVB protection).
Don’t Be Fooled By Only Wearing an SPF – many facial creams and some makeup products have an SPF, however, it’s crucial to know that SPF will ONLY protect your skin against UVB rays and not the UVA rays.
UVA rays age our skin on a far deeper and irreversible level, resulting in brown spots and wrinkles.
UVA accounts for up to 95 per cent of the solar UV radiation.
UVA can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and plays a major part in how the skin ages.
UVA rays are present during all daylight hours and throughout the winter months. More worryingly, UVA radiation can penetrate glass and clouds.
Makeup can easily and quickly help lessen the look of the severity of the brown spots.
There are a few things you can try:
Apply self-tan to your face and neck all over. (Then take a little a piece of tissue and on the areas that you have brown spotting dap the self-tan away and apply moisturiser and onto these the areas.
This helps prevent the self-tan from developing on these areas and yet won’t leave you looking streaky!). By warming up the tone of your skin, you’ll make the brown spotting appear less as it won’t contrast so much against paler skin.
I use Vita Liberata anti-age self-tan daily. Click here to see it in my boutique.
Step 1. Apply your foundation as you normally would all over your face and on the areas of your face that have brown spots. Now, on your brown spot only apply another layer of foundation and blend out.
Step 2. If step 1. hasn’t given you enough coverage then ‘dab’ a full-coverage concealer over the top of the brown spot(s).
If you’re not one for wearing foundation. Try this foundation (Click here to see it in my boutique). It gives beautiful and natural looking skin and feels weightless! Once you’ve applied it, add a swoosh of bronzer over your face and neck, and this will help tone all your skin together and further help demise the look of any brown spots.
Retinols are derivatives from Vitamin A.
Retinol communicates with skin cells and tells the skin cells to function in faster skin turn-over and skin cell renewal. When it comes to brown spots, this is important because the presence of retinol encourages the development of healthy new skin cells, unaffected by hyperpigmentation and melanin. Retinol treatment does take perseverance and time. It can take up to 10 months to see a gradual decrease in the brown spots over continued use they could go completely.
When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we often can be guilty of zooming in and focusing on the bits we wish we could to change/improve. However, other people ‘look’ at us as a ‘whole’ and take in the full picture. This means until we point out our flaws most people don’t even notice them. You may like to read my blog post about a great mirror trick that really helps me! Click here to take a look.
Makeup Artist | Stylist | Founder of Beautyandtheboutique.com