6 Surprising Things That Are Giving You Dark Spots
Stefanie Lee | 14 Jul 2015
You've heard more than once that Latinas are prone to dark spots due to increased melanin production in our skin, but is the sun the only thing causing it?
Research shows some of the things you least expect are causing hyperpigmentation — aka manchas. L'Oreal Paris consulting dermatologist Dr. Flor Mayoral gives us the lowdown on how to avoid this condition, commonly referred to as melasma.
1. Your computer. Studies show light rays emitted by computer screens, TV screens, and uncovered fluorescent lights can cause dark spots. You won't get it from watching one episode of your favorite show, but sitting in front of the TV or computer for long periods of time can cause it. If your job requires you to stare at a computer screen all day, be sure to take breaks frequently, even if you just get up to have a cup of coffee.
2. Your birth control. Changes in hormones can cause hyperpigmentation. This is why many pregnant women get dark spots on their face, which usually goes away after they give birth. The hormones in your birth control can cause them too. Stay away from products that have a higher dose of hormones, Mayoral says. Ask your doctor about birth control with lower levels of estrogen.
3. Not wearing sunscreen daily — even in the winter. Latinas are so guilty of this. You may think that you only need sunscreen when you're soaking up el sol on the beach, but you should really be wearing products with SPF every day, even on a cloudy day. Make sure your makeup has SPF, too.
4. Your diet. A lack of folic acid can lead to hyperpigmentation. Whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables are high in folic acid.
Credit: First 1000 Days
5. Facial hair removal. Try to avoid facial hair removal creams. The chemicals can cause skin discoloration. If you wax, be sure to use a hard wax rather than soft, because it's less likely to pull at the skin.
6. Citrus products. Eating an orange or lemon itself doesn't necessarily cause melasma, but applying citrus products, like a face wash, to your skin and then exposing it to the sun can cause a toxic reaction called berloque dermatitis, leading to very pronounced hyperpigmentation, Mayoral says. Be sure to avoid these products, especially if you are going out in the sun.
Tip: Prevent discoloration by using a daily facial moisturizer with arbutin, like Erno Laszlo Luminous Instensve Cream. To treat dark spots, try Elizabeth Arden Red Door Illuminating Vitamin C Activator, packed with vitamin c, which helps even skin tone.
DR Celine Leong, Astique Clinic
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Pigment Laser, $350
At ASTIQUE, we use the Medlite from HOYA ConBio®, the latest in Q-switched laser technology. The Medlite has been studied in many clinical trials and is approved by the FDA for the successful treatment of pigmentation disorders.
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Dr. Dylan Chau, Celevenus Aesthetic & Wellness Clinic
Revlite, $350 for 1 session
Revlite laser is ideal for the treatment of skin pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, aging skin, enlarged pores (as pore minimizer), and sun damage, and is effective to rejuvenate and refresh skin in the treatment area, firming skin and minimizing pores while offering a smoother texture and more even tone overall.
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Dr Ivan Tan, Nu.Reflections Medical Aesthetics
Pigment Laser, from $250 onwards
This highly versatile treatment is used to treat a variety of pigmentary disorders such as freckles and sun spots, melasma and aged spots. This treatment can also help on enlarged pores and gives the skin an overall rejuvenated appearance.
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Dr. Elias Tam Tak Chuen, EHA Clinic
Pigmentation Laser, from $428 onwards
Laser for skin rejuvenation or pigmentation using Q-Switch - starts at $428 for one session
1 Scotts Road, #15-01 Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208