“Why the Sun is Not the Only Culprit Behind Dark Spots:”
By Christian Trinh-Tran, April 13, 2020.
Even if you leave the house with your face slathered in globs of sunscreen, you may still notice the formation of pesky dark spots overtime. While too much sunlight is a definite cause of hyperpigmentation, it is not the only culprit to blame. Luckily, many of the fixes to these everyday problems have very simple solutions.
- Lack of Sleep
- Getting a full 7-8 hours of shut-eye every night is pivotal to achieving healthy, radiant skin. Poor sleeping habits rob your body of oxygen needed for proper blood circulation and enhances the production of stress hormones. This deadly combination works in tandem to create and accentuate preexisting skin pigmentation.
- Hormonal imbalances (e.g. excess estrogen/progesterone levels) cause the skin to become extremely susceptible to UV radiation. This is due to the fact that melanocytes, pigment producing cells, become especially active, overproducing and depositing excess melanin into the skin. As such, it is recommended that individuals undergoing PMS avoid the sun as much as possible during their cycle (or at least don a broad hat and good SPF before going out).
Poorly Formulated SPF/Cosmetics
- With hormonal changes comes the advent of another, quite literally, irritating issue: acne. Acne spots can often cause PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), a condition that is especially prone in darker skin types. To avoid PIH, exfoliate gently after a breakout and, as always, never pop your zits! For more on treating acne, ask about our FDA-approved, 3-in-1 skin resurfacing treatment called “DermalInfusion.”
- Ironically, some sunscreen contains chemicals (e.g. oxybenzone) that are considered estrogenic, meaning they incite hormonal imbalances (which, as mentioned earlier, make you more prone to hyperpigmentation!). Others contain parabens, which have been shown to react with UVB rays and accelerate aging/skin damage. To avoid both of these problems, we recommend using a physical sunscreen (meaning it relies on minerals instead of chemicals) that contains a high zinc content. One of our personal favorites is the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 (which we conveniently have in stock in our office!).
- In regard to cosmetics, be wary of the following metallic ingredients: mercury, lead, silver, gold, arsenic, and mercury. They have all been linked to increases in epidermal melanin production!
- Although you probably already know this, avoid putting your face too close to hot objects. Heat from fire, sunlight, and other sources (e.g. cooking, steam rooms, etc.) can cause the blood vessels in your skin to dilate, stimulating nearby pigment cells to start producing unnecessary melanin. The takeaway: avoid the sauna and order more takeout.