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Top Tips for Preventing Sun Spots

Although lightening pigmentation spots is a large part of our business, we still prefer to help people not develop them in the first place. This is especially true as they signify an excess of damage to the skin cells from UV radiation. Nobody wants that! 

Let's first address how and why they appear to begin with. The first myth to bust is that they just don't happen because you age and are inevitable. They happen because of sun damage. If you are still skeptical, take a look at an area of skin on your body that has rarely seen the light of day - the underside of your upper arm for instance. Chances are very high that you will not see any hyperpigmented spots here. 

When you are young and receive UV damage from either over exposure to the sun without protection or sunburns (no matter how small the area), this area will not show the damage for approximately twenty years. As you age and your skin no longer repairs itself so quickly, that small yearly sun burn or unprotected skin will show it's damage much quicker than twenty years. For women after menopause, this can be in as little as five years. 

Your pigment cells lie in the lower level of your epidermis and are there to produce pigment as a first line of defence against the DNA damaging effects of UV radiation (the sun). This shows on the skin as a tan. The challenge is that burns and tanning over time weaken and destroy these specialized cells. They are the most fragile of skin cells. Once damaged they either over or under produce pigment leaving either white, un-pigmented spots or dark, hyperpigmented spots.

Sun spots or hyperpigmentation are different from melasma which is a type of pigment disorder triggered by hormones (birth control pill, pregnancy etc). Melasma is much harder to remove but can be made worse from sun damage as the pigment cells are already compromised.

So whether you have sun spots (hyperpigmentation) or melasma the following tips apply to prevent worsening of the condition:

1. Where a good sun screen daily all year round no matter the weather! Check out our blog on how to pick a great sunscreen for your skin type.

2. Apply an effective  Vitamin C Serum formula for your skin type daily. Apply a few drops to clean dry skin before any other serum or cream. Do not mix into your cream. Apply directly to your skin to insure proper penetration and effectiveness. The anti-oxidant effect of vitamin c protects the cells from UV damage. Vitamin C also has a tyrosinase-inhibiting effect. Click here to help choose the right Vitamin C Serum for your skin type.

3. If you are fair skinned and prone to pigment disorders apply a tyrosinase inhibitor after your Vitamin C Serum for further protection and to lighten hyperpigmentation. Our favourite is Skinceuticals Discoloration Defence.

4. Don't forget your neck, chest, arms, hands and the rest of your body that is exposed to light.

5. Wear sunglasses with good quality protection that are large enough to cover more of your face.

6. Wear hats with a good brim when you are outside for any extended periods of time in the summer.

7. Do everything possible to avoid sunburns!

8. Add blue light protection wherever you can and reduce screen time. To learn more check out our blog on blue light here. 

9. Keep your skin hydrated. Dehydrated skin is much more vulnerable to pigment damage.

10. Pigment cells as they age also don't like heat. Even an over heated skin can create pigment damage so stay cool this summer as much as you can.

We know our tips will help to keep you from needing treatments for reducing sun spots. We do our very best with the best tools (lasers, BBL,chemical peels) but keep in mind that not all pigment can be erased completely once you get it. Prevention is the best!