“I’ve recently started developing an age mark on my cheek. I’ll shortly be going on holiday to the Canary Islands and am worried about it getting worse in the sun. I’ll be using a factor 50 sun cream, but is there anything else I can do?”
These kind of skin pigments or spots are frequently caused by UV damage; quite often this sun damage stems back from childhood, especially if you grew up at a time when we were not so aware of the dangers of UV rays. Many patients notice that they get worse after they’ve been in the sun.
In terms of protection, don’t use anything with an skin protection factor (SPF) lower than 30. An SPF 50 is ideal to protect yourself, particularly when you already have skin pigments. Remember to keep applying it frequently throughout the day and don’t be stingy with the amount of product you use; you’re using it for a reason! You may like to use a sun cream designed for the face which not only protects but also treats concerns; there are products such as Skinceuticals Brightening UV Defence SPF 30 which contain ingredients to actively help to reduce the appearance of sun spots whilst helping to prevent the formation of new ones.
Avoid the sun. I know it’s easier said than done on hot holidays, but this really is key if you want to try to stop pigmentation getting worse. This means sitting in the shade with your SPF on. I would advise wearing a wide brimmed hat to help protect you further; there are sun hats with SPF protection that you may wish to invest in.
Melasma, which is hormonally induced pigmentation, can be made worse in the sun also so it’s very important to wear sunblock and avoid the sun if you have this.
There are treatments that can help reduce the appearance of sun induced pigmentation; certain skin peels, laser treatments, topical products to name a few. However, it’s very important to remember that if you expose yourself to the sun and don’t wear a daily SPF treatment you will not stop new pigmentation forming. Equally, if pigmentation which sitting in the upper most layers of the skin is treated successfully there’s nothing to say that any pigmentation sitting in the lower layers of the skin cannot be stimulated by the sun and start to become visible.
In short my advice is protect, protect, protect! Avoid the sun, wear a large sun hat and frequently reapply your sun cream with a 30 to 50 SPF.
Once you’ve been on holiday you may wish to have a Visia scan of your skin so that you can see the pigmentation; including any pigmentation that may not currently be visible to the naked eye. This may sound daunting but knowledge is power; once you know what is happening with your skin you can make steps to improving it.
If you are worried about any pigmentation that you notice on your skin, you can arrange to have a consultation with one of our nurses, where they’ll discuss your concerns and develop a plan to treat the affected area to restore your skin to good health. You can call the Clinic on 01727 837429 or email us at info@TheSkintoLoveclinic.co.uk and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
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