How To Eliminate & Cure Brown Spots & Patches & Sun Spots

Melanin, a natural occurring ingredient in our skin plays a role in how our skin protects itself from the damaging effects of sun rays. Our skin makes pigment to shield our fragile cells from radiation. But our skin cells can become damaged with this melanin pigment and when this occurs, discoloration (brown spots & sun spots) appear that do not fade. In fact, they choose to stay dark unless you choose to have these spots and patches treated. Many people believe the sun itself paints on the freckles, brown patches & brown spots that appear quite often on our face & body after sun exposure. Pregnancy, medications & changes in hormones can also cause this brown pigmentation to occur. It is the amount of melanin pigment cells found in every human being's body that is responsible for dark pigment to surface to the outside layer of skin. Exposure to the sun, or pregnancy, or hormones or medications is what triggers your melanin cells to travel to the top of your facial skin and cause brown pigment. When 1 melanin cell travels to the top layer of your skin it breaks into 16 smaller melanin cells causing patches of freckles, brown patches, & dark brown spots.

As a defense against UV radiation, the amount of brown pigment melanin in the skin increases when it is exposed to sun levels of radiation. The purpose of melanin is to absorb UV sun radiation and dissipate the energy as harmless heat, blocking the UV rays from damaging our skin tissue. UV rays oxidize melanin that was already present in our skin cells and triggers the release of more melanin in our cells called melanocytes.

Melanin is produced in the lower levels of the skin. The majority of cells in the epidermis are skin cells but about every eighth cell is a melanocyte cell which makes melanin. The formation of brown spots begins when melanin stimulating hormones are triggered which causes the enzyme tyrosinase to be activated. The melanocytes make melanin and package them into little bundles known as melanosomes. These cells disperse the melanin pigment upward through the dermis resulting in hyperpigmentation and because the body cannot disperse the melanin evenly, it gets deposited in clumps that show up as spots and discoloration. As the skin ages, the steady distribution of melanin is less controlled and suffers even more by sun exposure and hormone changes, creating uneven deposits of color that stay indefinitely.

The four most common causes of sun and brown spots and patches are the sun, inflammation (acne), injury and hormones. All skin types are prone to these brown spots and patches but it is more common in darker skin because it naturally has more melanin. When dark skin experiences discoloration, it appears as dark black or brown spots or patches. Lighter skin tones, which have fewer or less active melanocytes, see more red or pink spots, freckles and patches.

Freckles are clusters of small brown spots and flat. They can vary in color from brown to red to tan and are found on any part of the body that is exposed to the sun. Freckles are a sign of sun damage and occur from overexposure to the sun due to the outcome of excessive melanin production coupled with low grade inflammation. Freckles are more common in those with fair skin, red hair and light colored eyes.

Hormones, especially estrogen are prone to create brown patches. When estrogen and/or progesterone levels are elevated, sometimes from pregnancy, hormone replacement or birth control pills, additional melanin is produced. The extra melanin floating in the skin settles as dark deposits resulting in melasma. If you see large dark patches on your skin then you have melasma. Known as the “mask of pregnancy”, you usually find it on the sides of the face, the forehead, upper lip, the chin and the sides of the neck.

Melasma is triggered by excess melanocytes which produce too much pigment in the skin. Estrogen is the usual cause but the sun is a catalyst too. The combination of the two causes unwanted pigment to be produced and is more apparent during and after sun exposure and less obvious in the winter months. But the most common cause of melasma is pregnancy, oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. All of these situations stimulate a hormone that tells the skin to make more pigment, which in combination with light, can produce too much pigment. The result is brown, blotchy patches across the cheeks or forehead but can also appear on the neck, chest or back.

Regardless of the cause or type of sun and brown spots and patches, there are four common strategies that must be followed:

1. Gently exfoliating the skin
2. Increasing cell turnover
3. Inhibiting new melanin production
4. Protecting the skin from UV exposure and other inflammatory insults.

The melanin deposited in the skin due to hyperpigmentation will appear darker to the naked eye as it rises toward the top layer of skin on its way to being shed. Part of a successful treatment plan is to remove these dark impacted cells to keep the appearance of the pigmented area to a minimum. Our T4 15% Glycolic, Pyruvic & Lactic Face & Body Peel works to increase cell turnover and lift deeper pigment to the surface and keep unwanted pigment from re-depositing onto the surface. Alpha Hydroxy peels gently remove the top layer of skin before it has a chance to become visibly darker due to hyperpigmentation.

Gentle exfoliation in between using alpha hydroxy peels is crucial. If aggressive methods of exfoliation are used like harsh scrubs or loofahs, the condition of hyperpigmentation will worsen rather than improve. Instead, use fruit enzyme, gentle exfoliators like T4’s Face & Body Boost Enzyme Exfoliating Cleanser with natural Papaya enzyme or T4 15% Glycolic, Lactic & Pyruvic Face & Body Peel. Lactic Acid is a water soluable AHA that gently increases exfoliation. Melanin is lifted and removed. Lactic also suppresses the formation of tyrosinase, without which melanin cannot occur.

At all cost, avoid harsh scrubs and loofahs and overdoing hand held machines like the Clarisonic Cleansing Brush if you have hyperpigmentation.

Because melanin production is a process with many interconnected reactions, effective results are achieved by using at-home topicals that contain proven ingredients to interrupt melanin formation at multiple points. The use of multiple cosmeceutical products containing a variety of topical melanin interrupting ingredients with different mechanisms of action leads to accelerated results, in comparison to using a single melanin inhibitor.

Vitamin C prevents melanin formation. Vitamin C's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and UV protective capabilities also suppress melanin. We recommend using our 20% Vitamin C Super Serum w/ B3, B5, E & Ferulic. Retinoids inhibit melanin production to curtail hyperpigmentation and enhance cell turnover. We recommend using our Extreme Retinol Treatment Crème. Niacinamide (B3) working synergistically with Helxylresorcinol in T4’s Sun & Age Spot Remover has been proven to achieve the greatest skin lightening results and melanin inhibition for those seeking a hydroquinone free treatment. Our fast acting T4 Sun & Age Spot Remover works best when used in conjunction with retinol such as our Extreme Retinol Crème. Retinol is an exfoliating agent, revving up cell turnover to allow the Sun & Age Spot Remover to work even faster. NOTE: The strong combination of niacinamide (B3) and helxylresorcinol literally exfoliates the brown spots off of skin if used properly. Using it properly means it should be used alone with no other product on top or beneath it for the most dramatic melanin lifting results. We recommend T4 Skin Care’s Sun & Age Spot Remover w/ 4% Helxylresorcinol & Niamicide for perfect face repair. It is delivered in a HYALURONIC moisturizing base with added jojoba oil and squalene oil so that it can be used alone without drying out the skin to achieve the greatest results lifting melanin. Last, you must use a broad spectrum sun protection with an SPF of at least 30... 365 days a year if you battle with hyperpigmentation. Inflammation resulting from UV sun exposure is a direct cause of melanin production. T4 Skin Care only distributes full spectrum titanium or zinc SPF 30 physical sun blocks.

We cannot emphasize how important it is to use skin lightening agents if you are prone to brown patches, brown spots & freckles when exposed to the sun or if you develop brown pigment due to hormone changes, pregnancy or medications. Skin lightening agents not only fade existing brown pigment that has surfaced from within your body cells, but also helps to inhibit future brown pigment from surfacing to your top skin layer. It is also extremely important to wear SPF on top of lightening agents to prevent your skin from further developing or darkening your existing brown pigmentation. Dermatologists are famous for prescribing 2 to 4% skin lightening agents and always preach that blotchy, patchy skin from brown & red pigmentation is the leading cause for people thinking you are 10 years older than you really are. Whether you have brown pigment spots & patches or have developed white spots called hypopigmentation, skin lightening agents, along with SPF 30, Retinol and our medical grade alpha hydroxy Face & Body skin peels are the best remedy to achieve an even, non-patchy skin tone.

In order to diminish sun and age spot hyperpigmentation you must always protect your skin from the sun with daily SPF sunscreen application even on over caste days and you must stick with a lifetime of maintenance to prevent your discoloration from returning. Sun and brown spots and patches are like plaque that develops on your teeth. Plaque continually forms and must continually be removed to maintain healthy gums. Melanocyte cells continually form when exposed to the sun and must continually be treated with skin repair lightening products to keep them from forming into sun and brown spots and patches.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) are spots that remain on the skin long after an acne breakout or inflammation has healed. The spots can be brown, red or pink or gray or blue. The more inflamed the breakout, the darker the spot and the longer it will take to heal. PIH is an inflammatory response to a skin injury and most often the result of acne, but also caused by rosacea, eczema, burns or cuts. If you tend to pick at your pimples, you’re only increasing the chances of developing hyperpigmentation. These types of brown spots tend to occur in people with darker skin, or dark hair or brown eyes.

Hypopigmentation, the opposite of hyperpigmentation, is caused by a reduction in melanin. It appears as white spots or white patches that are smooth. Most cases of hypopigmentation are from skin conditions like vitiligo. In order to regenerate lost pigment, doctor prescribed topical creams need to be used to stimulate healthy melanin production. If you choose not to use doctor prescriptions for hypopigmentation, the best alternative is to apply our 15% Glycolic, Lactic & Pyruvic Face & Body Peel two times a week to lighten the skin area surrounding the white spots and patches in order to create a more even skin tone.

Concerning the case of birthmarks, sunlight tends to darken them over time so it is important to protect them with T4 Skin Care broad spectrum SPF 30 products but nothing but laser or surgery can remove them. We do not recommend removing brown birthmarks with laser because the melanocyte cells in the birthmark that gave it its pigment might transform and increase the risk of skin cancer years later.

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