Common Skin Conditions: Dark Spots

Woman looking into a mirror

You don’t get to choose where it appears. Somehow it just finds a home for itself, right there on the tip of your nose, your cheek, or somewhere else on your face. It’s a dark spot, aka “liver” or “age” spot. Unfortunately, these unwanted spots aren’t likely to go away on their own.

So how does it happen?
Melanin is what gives color to your skin. Light from the sun actually speeds up the production of melanin. Being exposed to the sun over long periods of time can cause a cluster of melanin to appear—this is how a dark spot occurs.1

Tanning is also caused by a reaction to the sun’s rays. That golden skin tone may look desirable, but it is actually a sign of skin damage. Over the long term, this damage can lead to premature aging or even cancer.2

But sun exposure isn’t the only reason dark spots pop up. Sometimes it’s just part of aging. Genetics also plays a role. If you have light-colored or fair skin, you are more likely to develop dark spots.1

How can we prevent them?
The best way to keep those pesky spots from appearing is to limit sun exposure.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy the great outdoors, but be aware of when the sun’s rays can cause the most damage. Between 10:00am and 4:00pm is when the sun is at its greatest strength. Limit your sun exposure during these hours if you can.

Also, as much as possible, wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, and put on a hat to provide shade for your face. This applies for those times when you’re behind the wheel as well. Harmful rays can even penetrate through car windows (tinted windows offer some additional protection). As a general rule, if you’re going to be exposed to the sunlight, wear a high-quality broad-spectrum sunscreen, such as our award-winning Obagi Nu-Derm® Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50.

What can I do to get rid of them?
If you want to reduce the appearance of dark spots, doctors and dermatologists frequently recommend Obagi Nu-Derm®. Nu-Derm includes prescription-strength hydroquinone, the gold standard in helping to reduce the appearance of dark spots.

So now you’re armed with a little more knowledge about dark spots. Now that you know where they come from, you can do your best to prevent them. Most importantly, don’t panic if you start to notice dark spots appearing on your skin! Obagi offers effective dark spot prevention and correction solutions. Share your thoughts and feelings about dark spots below and look for more information on common skin conditions on our blog in the coming weeks.

1. Age spots (liver spots). Mayo Clinic Web site.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/age-spots/DS00912/DSECTION=causes. Accessed February 14, 2013.
2. Indoor tanning: the risks of ultraviolet rays. WebMD Web site.
http://www.webmd.com/fda/indoor-tanning-risks-ultraviolet-rays. Accessed February 14, 2013.

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