Melasma and Sunspots; What’s the Difference?
If you’ve noticed a weird-looking spot on your skin, your first instinct might be to assume the worst. However, chances are that the spot is just melasma or a sunspot!
Of course, you should always consult your doctor when a new spot appears on your skin, just to be on the safe side.
Today we’ll explore the difference between a sunspot and melasma. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing.
What is a Sunspot?
Sunspots, also known as liver or age spots or solar lentigines, often develop on mature skin as a result of sun damage. They are most common on lighter skin tones that are more susceptible to sunburns and UV damage.
They can be caused by tanning beds (which are also linked to skin cancers) or overexposure to natural sunlight, especially without sunscreen that is rated SPF 50 and PA ++++ or higher. If you’re going outside, always wear sun protection, regardless of how cloudy it is.
This collection of melanin at the surface of the skin is much easier to treat than a melasma and is often cured with the use of chemical peels, lasers, or regular exfoliation if the spot is minimal.
Though a skin sunspot is completely harmless to one’s health, it can be an early warning sign of spending too much time in the sun. Research shows that too much sun exposure and UV light can cause skin cancer. UV rays damage the skin’s DNA, which causes abnormal (cancerous) cells to grow and clump together.
How to Identify a Sunspot
Liver spots are typically only a few shades darker than your natural skin color and are usually circular in shape, but there can be entire patches across the face and body. Always see a doctor to ensure that it’s just a harmless spot.
They will occur where your skin has been exposed to the sun the most. Most people experience them on their foreheads, the apples of their cheeks, and the tops of their shoulders, but people who have spent their entire lives on the beach often have them all over their bodies.
How to Get Rid of a Sunspot
This skin condition can only be cured if the spot is minimal and not very deep into the layers of the skin.
Age spots will typically fade over time but never fade away completely if you just let it be. Brightening agents, like Vitamin C, or chemical peels, like AHA and BHA, can help boost the growth of new skin to exfoliate the spot away.
The NuOrganic Lightening Serum does both of these at the same time! With crucial ingredients like arbutin and kojic acid, this skincare product inhibits melanin production to prevent more dark spots while brightening existing ones for a clear, spot-free complexion. There are many other anti-aging ingredients that reduce the appearance of wrinkles by boosting collagen production, too.
What is Melasma?
Skin melasma is a common condition that mostly appears in women who are pregnant or on birth control pills since birth control mimics pregnancy in the body.
Women are significantly more likely to develop melasma than men, but both sexes can get these dark spots that are most common in patches around the cheeks and forehead. They can either appear brown or have a bluish-grayish tint to them.
How to Identify Melasma
Melasma is most common in medium-toned women or women who tan well. If you’re a woman in your 20s to 40s, especially if you’re pregnant or taking hormones (like birth control), with grayish-brown to warm brown patches on your face and body, it’s probably melasma.
There are three different types of melasma: epidermal, dermal, and mixed. It is diagnosed by a dermatologist with a black light.
Epidermal melasma occurs on the top layer of the skin and has clear borders and a dark brown color. This condition typically responds well to dermatological intervention.
Dermal melasma is on the second layer of the skin and can have blurry borders and a bluish-brownish tint. This type does not respond well to treatment.
Mixed melasma has both epidermal and dermal patches and sometimes responds to treatment.
How to Get Rid of Melasma
If you’re currently pregnant, the melasma will likely go away once you give birth.
If you’re on hormones, like hormone replacement therapy or birth control, you will likely have to stop taking them to see a difference.
What’s the Difference Between Melasma and Liver Spots?
Sometimes melasma and sun spots can look very similar, but the difference lies in the cause.
Melasma is caused by hormonal changes, while sunspots are caused by environmental forces, such as UV rays.
Sunspots are permanent but can be removed via dermatological intervention. Melasma will usually go away on its own once the trigger (pregnancy, birth control, medication, etc.) is removed, but in rare cases, it can remain forever.
What is Melanoma?
Melasma, melanoma, solar lentigines… if you’re confused, you’re not alone!
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer out of the three (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma). It occurs when there’s DNA damage in the cells that produce melanin, the skin’s natural pigment, which are called melanocytes.
A melanoma typically looks like an unusual mole. They can appear anywhere on the skin of the body and, in rare cases, can even form under a nail, in the nose, or on the soles of the feet, all of which are areas that don’t receive a lot of sun exposure.
Fair-toned people are significantly more likely to become diagnosed with skin cancer since they do not have as much melanin to absorb the UV rays. However, darker-toned people often think that they are immune to skin cancer, but that is untrue. Anybody can develop skin cancer and other forms of sun damage, so it is best to wear sunscreen regardless.
If you see a weird-looking mole, ALWAYS check it with your doctor.
These conditions caused by abnormal skin cells don’t have to rule your life. If you’re suffering from dark spots caused by acne scarring or sun exposure, you have to try the NuOrganic Lightening Serum. Most people see results in only two to three weeks!