Spots on your skin: Is it for long and how to get rid of them?
Women may get spots on some areas of their skin from time to time. Doctors call it skin pigmentation. In some cases, it may pass over time on its own, while in other cases it may even get worse. What’s going on with your skin and why is it getting spots?
Your skin's special cells called melanocytes make a pigment called melanin, this is how your skin gets its color. When melanocytes become unhealthy or damaged, this affects melanin production and may result in pigmentation disorders.
While sometimes it affects just patches of skin, other times it affects your entire body.
If your body makes too much melanin, your skin gets darker.
If there's too little melanin, your skin gets lighter.
When your skin pigmentation is darker
- Post-acne pigmentation. This is one of the most common types of pigmentation that occurs after you pop pimples.
- Hyperpigmentation is a condition that causes the skin to darken because of excess production of melanin. Usually, it isn’t harmful, but it can be a symptom of another medical problem.
- Sunspots (solar lentigines, liver spots) are related to excess sun exposure over time. They usually show up as spots of darker skin on areas exposed to the sun, like your face and hands.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the result of an injury to the skin.
- Certain medications can cause hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can be a side effect of some chemotherapy drugs.
- Endocrine diseases disrupt hormone levels and can increase melanin production.
- Pregnancy. Yes, when you get pregnant, your hormones begin to change. About 50% of pregnant women may experience the so-called “mask of pregnancy.” Melasma means that areas of darker skin can appear on any area of the body but most commonly on the face and abdomen.
- When you become pregnant your body produces more hormones, which may lead to an increase in pigmentation.
When your skin pigmentation is lighter
- Vitiligo is a disease when you have white spots on your skin. They can be of various sizes and in different locations.
- Albinism is a genetic condition that means the skin has no melanin. Consequently, the skin may have either no color at all or it may be lighter than normal skin color or patchy.
- Lighter skin can be the result of infections, blisters, or burns.
If you notice that pigmentation has appeared on your face or other parts of the body, consult your dermatologist.