“Spot the Difference: A Guide to Identifying and Preventing Skin Spots”

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Summer is the season for showing off natural beauty, but this also means an increase in concern over skin spots. While UV rays are responsible for 80% of age and spot-related skin issues, there are other factors at play as well. Dr. Marta Vilavella, a specialist in medical-surgical dermatology and venerology, offers advice on how to identify benign from malignant skin spots, which treatments to use, and which ingredients are beneficial.

Types of Skin Spots

According to Dr. Vilavella, there are different types of pigmented spots or lesions, and each is treated differently. To begin, it is essential to distinguish between benign and malignant spots, requiring a prior dermatological diagnosis. Among the benign, the most common spots are solar lentigines, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Solar lentigines are small, brown spots with precise boundaries, usually found in photo-exposed areas. Melasma is a brownish-colored spot with imprecise limits, frequently seen on the upper lip, forehead, and cheeks. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation appears as a shadow after an inflammatory process in the skin, such as acne or a burn.

Prevention and Treatment

Most spots are a result of or intensified by UV radiation. Therefore, the best way to avoid them is to limit sun exposure and use a high broad-spectrum photoprotector suitable for one’s skin type. Additionally, some products can help, such as serums and creams with powerful antioxidants like astaxanthin to prevent photoaging.

There are also different treatments to reduce or eliminate spots once they have appeared. These include laser or intense pulsed light, chemical peels, and microneedling with tranexamic acid. Among the most advanced treatments is the Yellow method by Maribel Yébenes, a laser that treats capillaries and spots simultaneously.

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Beneficial Ingredients and Products

Retinol is an anti-aging active compound proven effective in correcting wrinkles, firming skin, and lightening blemishes. Azelaic acid is another potent ingredient that decreases melanin synthesis, making it useful against existing spots and preventing new ones. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant ingredient more potent than both vitamin C and E and helps prevent photoaging effects like spots, small wrinkles, and elastosis.

We present four products to aid in preventing and treating skin spots:

– ‘Retinol + Vitamin C’ by Farma Dorsch: a cream with encapsulated patented retinol that hydrates, firms, illuminates, and attenuates spots.
– ‘Brightening Serum’ by Two Poles: a depigmenting, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial serum formulated for all skin types with a high concentration of three powerful lightening ingredients.
– ‘Melaless Elixir’ by Maribel Yébenes: a depigmenting and lightening elixir that corrects and prevents all kinds of spots.
– ‘Super Green Poem’ by Byoode: a cleansing gel with 75% ingredients of natural origin that deeply cleanses, soothes, and hydrates, containing antioxidants like pomegranate.

It is also crucial to monitor intake of photosensitizing medications, such as certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, diuretics, or contraceptive treatments, to avoid the appearance of spots. Avoid sun exposure on the same day as any facial area waxing or handling any sign of acne to prevent subsequent staining that could become hyperpigmented.

Indeed, prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to skin spots.

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