Whether you are looking to prevent dark spots, or to improve your skin condition, the starting point is the same for all of us: an effective and proper skincare regime is your foundation in the prevention of dark spots.
What causes dark spots to appear on your face ?
Some of the main causes of dark spots include:
- Skin damage from excessive sun exposure
- Exposure to a dry environment
- Natural aging process
- Effects of stress
- Hormonal changes
- Frictional damage
Exposure to the sun’s UV rays causes our body to increase its production of the pigment, melanin, to protect the skin from sun damage; this pigmentation is responsible for the tanning effect of the skin. However, prolonged exposure to harmful UV radiation leads to excess production of melanin and the result is hyperpigmentation, or the accumulation and build-up of visible dark spots on the skin.
How does hyperpigmentation occur? Essentially, the production of melanin is the body’s natural defense mechanism to counter the damaging effect of excessive UV exposure on the skin. The build-up occurs with extended periods of sun exposure.
The other common cause of dark spots is aging. With the passage of time, our skin metabolism changes. This could lead to a system imbalance which may result in either an increase or decrease in the release of melanin.
Frictional damage occurs with excessive rubbing or abrasion of the skin surface due to irritation and discomfort. This, too, can cause skin discoloration through increased melanin production, or, hypopigmentation.
A host of other reasons, such as stress-related triggers and hormonal changes, could also lead to a pigmentation disorder like melasma, where patchy spots become visible on the skin.
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And what you should always remember is the relationship between spots and dryness!
The compelling cause-and-effect of skin dryness and hyperpigmentation
Dr. Tomohiro, highlighted the causal relationship between skin dryness and dark spots. According to Dr. Hakozaki, who is also a P&G researcher, “From a genetic analysis viewpoint, there is clear evidence that dark spots, commonly called melasma or liver spots, have less moisture content and are thicker compared to other parts of the skin.”
He further adds that research into the genes of the dark spots reveal the progression in keratinization, which is to say, the base layer of cells at the skin epidermis start to form a hardkeratin protein as new cells form beneath them, appearing as calluses. At the same time, there is also a corresponding drop in water content, affirming that dark spots advance keratinization. Furthermore, this dehydration affects the enzyme’s ability to exfoliate these calluses, resulting in thicker cornification.