SKIN CONDITIONS

Age Spot, Pigmentation & Sun damage

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Uneven pigmentation of the skin and hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that can appear on your face, hands, decolletage and other parts of the body that are exposed regularly to the sun.

Age spots and sun spots form when the pigment clumps or is produced in high concentrations. These are usually not dangerous to you but can be of cosmetic concern. At FaceRestoration our surgeons are able to offer advice and treatment options as well as screen and monitor for progression to more dangerous cancerous lesions.

ABOUT THIS CONDITION

INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR SYMPTOMS

Pigmentation refers to the colouring of your skin, where hyperpigmentation is the term used to describe increased areas of uneven pigmentation. Skin cells called melanocytes produce melanin which is responsible for your skin’s colour. Hyperpigmentation can appear as clumps known as age spots or sun spots, or more widespread as melasma, often related to hormonal changes, and following inflammation or local skin trauma as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which can occur in all skin types but tends to affect those with darker skin types more.

We are able to monitor pigmentation and sun damage objectively with lesion mapping and VISIA skin analysis. Solar lentigines or age spots are harmless but may resemble more serious conditions, such as moles, lentigo maligna, melanoma and solar keratosis. Medical grade skin care can help reduce pigmentation, and sun damage. We can advise regarding appropriate SPF applications and types suitable for you.

What is Sun Damage?

Sun exposure can cause the skin to become dry and lose moisture as well as essential oils, resulting in flaky and prematurely wrinkled skin. Following sunburn the skin becomes red and if severely burnt can develop fluid filled vesicles or blister. With prolonged sun exposure, the skin can be permanently damaged as patches of actinic keratosis, that feel like sandpaper. This can be a warning sign of increased risk of skin cancer. Approximately 10%-15% of actinic keratosis change into squamous cell cancers of the skin. In the long term, photoaging results in changes to the collagen in the dermis of the skin and UV damage to the collagen in blood vessel walls, actinic purpura, making them more fragile and likely to rupture following slight impact.

What is Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when a skin trauma or injury heals to leave a flat area of discolouration behind. It is not uncommon after acne and eczema or psoriasis particularly if you have darker skin, and can be caused by some procedures such as laser treatment, chemical peels and dermabrasion.

What is Melasma?

Melasma, also known as chloasma, is a condition where patches of hyperpigmentation develop mainly on the face, mouth, cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead and chin, but can also be seen on the stomach. It can affect men and women, but is more common amongst females and often triggered by changes in hormone levels. Melasma occurs in 50% of pregnant women in the UK, when it is sometimes termed the ‘mask of pregnancy’ and up to 25% of women taking the oral contraceptive pill. If you have darker skin there is a higher risk, and oestrogen and progesterone sensitivity, stress, thyroid disease as well as sun exposure can all be triggers. We aim to control underlying triggers and recommend appropriate treatment options to reduce the appearance of the pigmentation and minimise recurrence.

What are Age Spots?

As skin ages, the number of melanocytes decreases, with the remaining melanocytes increasing in size and becoming more focused. Age spots are caused by sun exposure and appear in adulthood usually after the age of 40, they are flat tan, brown or black spots and may be known by many names including liver spots, sun spots, solar lentigines or senile lentigo. They are the result of excess production of melanin with skin ageing and sun exposure. Other forms of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, such as tanning beds can speed up the process. Age spots are not dangerous and do not cause any health problem but if there is a change in the appearance and this is causing concern, we are able to reassure by excluding anything more sinister and offer options for treatment.

How can I prevent pigmentation?

  • Avoid the sun between 10am and 3 pm when the sun’s rays are the most intense
  • Wear water resistant sunscreen every day. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 30 and contain both UVA and UVB protection
  • Use a sunblock on your lips. Choose a product that has been specially formulated for the lips with a sun protection factor of 20 or more.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours, and more often if swimming or perspiring.
  • Wear protective clothing such as hats, long trousers and long sleeved shirts. These help to protect your skin from UV rays. For the best protection, wear UV-blocking clothes with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of at least 40
  • Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection to protect the delicate periocular skin which is more prone to sun ageing, and the eye.

What if my skin condition looks suspicious?

 

For areas of pigmentation or sun damage that are suspicious we may recommend a biopsy to allow us to exclude any cancerous lesions such as melanoma, lentigo maligna, Bowenoid actinic keratosis, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.  Some medical treatments can be used for precancerous lesions. When cancer is confirmed we will be able to resect and reconstruct with our ScarslessTM program.  We work with a multidisciplinary team of pathologists and dermatologists to offer you a safe and seamless service and have particular expertise in the surgical treatment of skin cancer around the periocular area.

BOOKING WITH US

Arrange a consultation with us using the button below at a time of your choosing. This may be held through video chat dependant on COVID guidelines at the time.

YOUR CONSULTATION

We will then discuss with you your symptoms and advise you on how best to proceed with helpful guidance on treatments through our expert knowledge and training.

TREATMENT & AFTERCARE

Once an appointment has been arranged, we will then begin treatment and support you along the process, including specialised aftercare.