In addition to wrinkles, most women do not bother as much as pigmentation that, unlike pimples or freckles, does not always disappear on its own. Women who take the pill, are pregnant, or are menopausal are particularly affected, but you can do something to prevent chloasma and age spots. "The beautiful draws a part of its magic from the transience" - so it is called by the writer Hermann Hesse. But do you have to see this transience all too clearly? It is no coincidence that more and more dermatologists are offering a cosmetic treatment aimed at treating all kinds of pigmentation disorders. For example, age spots can be removed with the laser.
Connection between chloasma, sunbathing and hormones
There are differences between chloasma and age spots. Chloasms (also called melasms) are brownish hyperpigmentations, so particularly strong, but benign pigmentation of the face, chest, abdomen and genital area. They occur during pregnancy or by hormonal preparations such as the pill and hormone therapies during menopause.
When exposed to sunlight, normal skin reacts with even pigmentation. This comes through the work of the melanocytes, cells that change their color under sunlight to protect the body from damage.
However, when the level of estrogen is elevated, many women experience excessive defensive reactions: brown spots of different sizes deface the skin, and sometimes they can do so very quickly. An intense sunbath is enough and the skin has changed so much. It is said that the cells responsible for the formation of the pigment dye melanin would be increased by the hormones, affecting their distribution.
What to do in Chloasmen?
If you have an irregular tan on your skin after taking a hormone preparation, ask your gynecologist if he can recommend a preparation that is better for you.
For superficial pigmentations, the dermatologist may try to lighten the pigments with a bleaching substance or to remove them with chemical peeling. But if the pigments are very deep, then often only masking with cosmetics helps.
Preventively, you should take hormone preparations such as the pill preferably in the evening, because one to two hours after taking the hormone concentration is highest, it breaks down overnight.
In addition, you should use a sunscreen with high SPF and not stay too long in the sun.
Age spots: cell damage due to long-term UV irradiation
The few millimeters to centimeters large age spots (Lentigo senilis or Lentigo solaris) are accumulations of pigment in the epidermis. They are also benign, form in men as well as women and are a visible sign of long-term exposure to the sun. Therefore, they are preferably found on the face and hands. 90 percent of 60-year-old Germans are affected by them.
The age spots are accumulations of the pigment Lipofuscin, an end product from the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids of the cell walls. Here, free radicals play an important role for years, those molecules that possess only a single electron and attack molecules with electron pairs in order to wrest an electron out of them. If cells are weakened by too much sunlight, the connection between the electrons breaks. The cells age, the skin becomes leathery, wrinkled and stained, forming lipofuscin.
Prevent and treat age spots
As a precaution, you can not begin to protect yourself from too much sun soon enough. Once the age spots have arrived, the dermatologist can remove the pigments with the help of the laser or with a special applicator plus heat. Side effects are minor, redness may last for several weeks.
In addition, there are in the pharmacy bleach creams that contain chemicals: vitamin A acid derivatives, for example, peel the epidermis downright, which can irritate the skin very much. Again, you should be very careful with sunbathing again.
Patients should, before they decide on a cosmetic treatment of age spots and chloasma, have the pigment changes examined by the dermatologist. In the case of liver spots (nevus cell nevi), the pigmentations are deep in the skin and can be malignantly changed by a laser treatment.