It is alarming to see dark spots appearing on your skin and affecting your looks. It is perfectly possible for this skin problem to be treated effectively, but in order for this to happen its causes have to be identified first. Discover the most common causes of dark spots to ensure that you will get clearer and even more beautiful skin.
This is the most common reason why dark spots appear on the skin. The UV light of the sun causes damage to the cells in the upper layers of the epidermis. Usually, this damage occurs due to long unprotected exposure to the sun. The cell damage manifests itself in the form hyperpigmentation. The spots usually come in different shades of brown and sometimes gray.
There are three main types of dark spots caused by UV damage. The Melasma spots are typically big and connected to each other to form clusters. They typically appear on the face. They are most common in young people and young women, in particular.
Ephelides, which are informally known as freckles, are perhaps the most common of all dark skin spots. They are small, but typically cover fairly big areas of the skin. Their color ranges from red to brown. They can appear at any age including early childhood. They most often occur on the face and the upper part of the body. The cheeks and arms usually have the most freckles.
The so called age spots which tend to appear on the skin when people get older are called solar lentigines. They are caused by long-term exposure to the sun and are extremely common. Their color typically ranges from light to dark brown. They can have different sizes. Many small spots can form a cluster or there may be several bigger ones fairly close to each other. They appear on the parts of the skin which get the most sunlight such as the forehead, temples, chest, arms and hands.
Changes to the hormonal balance, especially in women, can lead to the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Most often, these occur during pregnancy. They can also be caused by the intake of birth control pills and medications which trigger hormonal changes. The spots usually go away naturally after the hormonal balance in the body is restored.
Skin disorders, liver disease and some hormonal disorders such as Addison’s disease can also cause dark spots. When they are properly treated, the skin will get improvement as well. It is also worth noting that it is common for hyperpigmentation to occur after skin trauma which has caused inflammation. Dark spots can appear on the place of healed acne pimples, for instance. The risk of this is lower if the condition has been treated properly.
Finally, you should know that it is fairly uncommon for melanoma, which is the most dangerous skin cancer, to be confused with dark skin spots. Still, it is always best to have such spots checked by a dermatologist who will recommend the most appropriate treatment given the cause of the problem and other factors such as age and overall health.
Over the past decades, the number of skin cancer cases has grown dramatically. In many countries, this is the most common type of cancer. The main cause of this condition is frequent exposure to the sun. Find out how the process works.
UV Damage to Skin Cells
The sun produces ultraviolet radiation which reaches out planet. The most harmful rays of radiation are blocked by the atmosphere and the sunlight which reaches through it is crucial for the life on this planet. Generally, it is good for the health to soak up some sun. However, when you get too much of it, this can be quite dangerous.
In case of frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun, the UV rays can cause damage to the skin cells. More specifically, the UV radiation damages the cells’ DNA. This is how healthy cells are transformed into cancer cells. The cancer cells multiply and form a malignant tumor. If the tumor is not treated timely, skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system.
It is important to note that manmade sources of UV radiation can also cause damage to cellular DNA and consequently skin cancer. The list includes tanning beds and certain types of professional equipment. While professionals wear protective gear to shield themselves from UV radiation, it is a personal choice to stay away from tanning beds for the purpose of protecting your health.
Sun Exposure and the Types of Skin Cancer
Recent research studies have found that different types of UV damage are responsible for the different types of skin cancer. Regular exposure to the sun over a long period of time leads to cumulative damage to the cells. The cumulative damage causes basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. These types of skin tumors typically appear on the parts of the body which are directly exposed to the sun and get the most UV light such as the face. People who work outside and professional and amateur athletes who train outdoors are at higher risk of developing these types of skin cancer. The people who love sunbathing and do it regularly fall into this category as well.
Melanoma, which is the deadliest type of skin cancer, is more likely to be caused by severe sunburns incurred at a young age rather than by exposure to the sun on a regular basis over a years and decades. Researchers have discovered that the sunburns suffered during childhood and adolescence put people at greater risk of melanoma. The malignant melanoma growths can appear on any part of the skin including the inner thighs and the pubic area which normally do not get directly exposed to sunlight.
It is important to take all possible steps for lowering your risk of skin cancer. These include staying in the shade during the hours of the day with most intensive sunlight and applying sunscreen on all exposed parts of the skin when going outside. You should wear a hat and a pair of sunglasses for complete protection. Regular skin exams are also among the main preventive measures.