We all have melanin in our skin but some of us have more than others. Melanin is a natural pigment that is produced in specialised cells called melanocytes. These cells are most abundant in your hair, eyes, and skin, and they are responsible for giving you your natural hair colour, eye colour, and skin tone.
Often, people who live closer to the equator in hot countries where the sun is bright and strong will have more melanin in their skin. It acts as a protectant to reduce potential damage from the sun’s UV radiation.
Most of you probably have freckles and moles on your skin that have been present since birth, which is formed from areas of the skin that contain excess melanin. Dark spots on men are also common and they usually appear with age. However, dark spots can develop and worsen due to a range of other factors.
Dark spots are also known as liver spots. They are areas of hyperpigmentation on the skin and they can affect men or women at any point in their lives. Hyperpigmentation can occur in small patches, commonly across the face, arms, and legs, or it can extend to cover most of the body.
The main types of hyperpigmentation include sunspots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Sunspots are caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. Melasma usually forms during pregnancy due to changes in the levels of various hormones. Post-inflammation hyperpigmentation is associated with inflammation in the skin due to health conditions or injuries.
Nowadays, there are more methods than ever to maintain an even and natural skin tone that is free of dark spots. If you have hyperpigmentation spots and you’re looking for ways to reduce them, we’re going to give you some top tips on how to reduce or even prevent dark spots on your skin.
Causes of Hyperpigmentation
Before we delve into the best ways to stop hyperpigmentation, let’s cover the most common causes of dark spots on men.
There are various causes of dark spots on men. You may have hyperpigmentation due to just one of these causes or multiple factors.
Overexposure to Sunlight
The sun’s UV rays expose the skin to radiation that had the potential to trigger increased melanin production. This is because melanin’s main role is to protect your cells from UV damage.
Normally, this extra melanin would result in a darker tone across the skin. However, when your exposure to UV radiation is too frequent, it can cause excess melanin. This results in dark spots.
These dark spots are not cancerous but it’s important to keep an eye on them, as they can become precancerous over time.
Inflammation in the Skin
Inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis can cause inflammation. Trauma from bites, scratches, and cuts can also cause inflammation in the skin.
When your skin is inflamed, it can trigger your melanocytes to increase their melanin production, causing hyperpigmentation.
Melasma most commonly appears during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. Although this condition is more common in women, it can be the cause of dark spots on men. It can also be triggered by sun exposure, air pollutants, and may even be partly genetic.
Medical conditions, such as Addison’s disease, can result in hyperpigmentation. Certain drugs may also result in dark spots on the skin, such as antibiotics or chemotherapy medications.
How to Stop Hyperpigmentation
There are lots of great ways to reduce the appearance of dark spots. But prevention is always better than treatment! Preventing the development of dark spots is always better than trying to fix them once they have already appeared.
Here are some great ways to stop hyperpigmentation in its tracks.
Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Following a skincare routine for men that keeps your skin nice and moisturised will help to keep the dark spots at bay.
Skincare products have beneficial ingredients that can help to boost your skin’s health. For example, many products contain vitamins C and E that protect the cells from oxidative damage or retinol to repair and rejuvenate the skin cells.
Many of these ingredients can help to brighten and hydrate the skin, which reduces the risk of hyperpigmentation. They can make the skin more resilient to harmful UV radiation or air pollutants that would otherwise cause the development of dark spots.
Wear SPF Every Day
The best way to protect your skin from the harmful UV radiation that is emitted from the sun is to include SPF products in your skincare routine for men. By keeping your skin well-protected, you can prevent excess melanin production and reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation.
To prevent dark spots and discolouration on the skin, apply sunscreen to your skin 15-20 minutes before you head outside. Find a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from UVB rays.
Make sure the sunscreen contains the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide too. These ingredients can protect your skin from the sun’s UVA rays.
If you have sensitive skin, avoid using sunscreen that contains ingredients that you know will irritate your skin. Anything that burns or itches your skin may increase inflammation, which can have the opposite effect and increase the risk of dark spots developing.
Stay Covered and Protect Your Skin
Alongside wearing SPF every day, you should keep your skin safe from the sun’s UV rays by wearing protective clothing. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts and long skirts or trousers when you’re sitting out in the sun, as well as sunglasses and a hat.
Usually, the sun is highest in the sky between 12 pm and 3 pm. If you’re out during these hours, cover up and sit under an umbrella. If possible, completely avoid going out in direct sunlight during these hours.
Avoid Itching and Scratching
When you’ve cut yourself, it can begin to feel itchy during the healing process. Similarly, when you’ve been bitten flea or mosquito, you might be tempted to scratch and itch at the bites.
Scratching at cuts and bites can cause inflammation in the area and this may lead to discolouration. Even if the areas are itchy, it’s important that you don’t further irritate your skin by scratching. The more you mess with your skin, the more likely it is that dark spots will appear.
When you have a cut or bite, use topical creams and medications that will aid the healing process and reduce inflammation in the skin. As with SPF products, make sure you don’t use any creams or medications that will irritate your skin even further.
Search for products that contain naturally brightening ingredients, such as vitamin C, kojic acid, and liquorice root. Each of these ingredients can also reduce hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase, thereby reducing melanin production in the skin.
Bonuses points if the products also contain hyaluronic acid, n-acetyl glucosamine, and niacinamide!
Speak to a Professional Dermatologist
If you are still concerned about hyperpigmentation, speak to a professional dermatologist for expert advice. A dermatologist can also provide several topical solutions or more intensive medications that are known to abolish any dark spots on men’s skin.
For example, a dermatologist may provide chemical peels for your skin or dermabrasion. There are also several prescription medications that are known to reduce the risk of dark spots and boost skin health, such as hydroquinone.
Your dermatologist will also be able to monitor your skin’s reaction to the specific ingredients that are in chemical peels or medications. If they notice that your skin is becoming inflamed or irritated, they can switch up your treatments to avoid causing further damage.
No matter how light or dark your skin tone naturally is, we are all prone to dark spots. Many of us don’t think about hyperpigmentation until it is too late. However, by taking the steps that we have mentioned in this article, you can reduce your risk of dark spots.
It’s always better to prevent dark spots from forming in the first place than it is to treat them when they have already developed. And taking preventative steps to protect your skin from damaging external factors is simple and easy to do! You don’t need to go out and buy expensive skin treatments and you can still wear all of your favourite skincare and beauty products.
The main thing that you should focus on when it comes to reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation is protecting your skin from the sun. SPF-containing products belong in every skincare routine for men and you should get into the habit of wearing sunscreen on a daily basis.
If after reading this article, you are still concerned about hyperpigmentation, get in touch with a dermatologist in your local area. They are the skin experts! They will know exactly what products and treatments are perfect for your skin to maximise its health and protection.
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