Discolorations of facial skin can either be congenital (you were born with it) or become noticeable over time. Sun exposure over time can lead to collections of pigment cells (melanocytes) in the deepest layer of the skin. Pregnancy and hormone changes can often worsen the problem. In evaluating any pigmented lesion, the first question that should be answered by a professional is “is it dangerous?” Danger signs include: a new fast growing lesion, rapid growth of an existing lesion, a lesion that contains many different colors, a lesion with irregular borders, bleeding or itchiness.
Some commonly seen pigmented lesions include melasma, mask of pregnancy, freckles, port wine stain.
Treatment of Pigmented Lesions Include:
1. Sun Avoidance/Sunscreen – This is most important for decreasing the frequency and severity of sun spots. It is something you can start right away and will prevent future spots from forming!
2. Topical bleaching agents – this is the first line pharmaceutical treatment for such lesions. Typically, a topical hydroquinone may be used with tretinoin to improve symptoms. Results are gradual and typically take 6 weeks. Continuous use is recommended.
3. Topical chemical peels – in many patients, light TCA or glycolic peels can be performed to achieve improvement in overall skin tone and discolorations. This should be performed cautiously on darker skin patients as there could be a risk of darkening. Therefore I recommend testing spots and adhering to a specific graduated formula to achieve the best results based on your skin tone. See the Facial Resurfacing page for more information on expected downtime, details of the procedure, and expected results.
4. Laser Therapy – Depending on the color of the spots, selected lesions can be treated using specific laser frequencies. Laser is also very effective for certain vascular lesions and prominent blood vessels that may be seen in conditions like rosacea. See the Laser Resurfacing page for more information on expected downtime, details of the procedure, and expected results.
For the option best for you, schedule your consultation to start moving towards healthier, clearer skin today!