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Freckles, Melasma, Chloasma, Age Spots......Your complete guide on how to get rid of them.

Today’s blog post was prompted by a conversation I had this morning with a patient. She mentioned she has this brown spot on the side of her face and asked whether it was an ‘age thing’ as she has noticed it since turning 40.

Sitting here thinking of what topic to discuss, I thought skin discolourations are very common however we often ignore them as they aren’t affecting our health and to be honest we are way too busy to worry about a few spots here and there. But when we have a few moments in front of the mirror; we often question ourselves why these pigmented spots have suddenly popped up on our face.

So what are melasma, chloasma, age spots, and other skin discolourations? Our skin is pigmented due to melanin; people who are fair will have less melanin compared to those who have a darker complexion. We all know the sun increases melanin in our skin; in addition, melanocytes (our cells that manufacture melanin) can be affected by genetics, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, ageing, and products that irritate the skin.

How can I treat them? Typically, the best approach is recognising why the pigmenting skin has occurred. Is it due to a hormonal imbalance, the natural ageing process, sun damage etc? Once you understand the cause, then you can choose a natural treatment to address the problem.

Here are some examples:

Hormonal Imbalance/ Pregnancy: Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture is a gentle yet effective way to return your body’s hormones back to a healthy balance.

Sun damage / Ageing: Wear natural sun screen, hats, gloves and long sleeves to prevent your skin from sun damaged, sun spots and accelerated ageing.

Genetic Factors: Protecting your skin from sun damage and avoiding toxic ingredients are the most important steps to prevent the exacerbation of melasma. In addition, encouraging your body to be healthy by eating and living a clean life will help your skin look and feel healthy.

Topical Treatment: There are many beauty tools a beauty therapist has to help with pigmentation. As an acupuncturist we too can help with reducing melasma and also improving overall health to minimise the re-emergence and heal the body from within. There are also many products that act to brighten the skin; our Luminescence Skin Brightening serum has a dual action in reducing the melanin in melasma/age spots and anti-ageing ingredients to revitalise the skin. Check more our here:

Dietary Treatment: Foods high in Vitamin A, B12, C and E are great for melasma and ageing such as green leafy vegetables, orange coloured fruits and vegetables, broccoli, oranges, and other citrus fruits, eggs, beef, liver, dairy, avocados, apples, nuts/seeds, tomatoes and loads more. Check out posts out for pics on which foods have these vitamins. [caption id="attachment_2405" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables. Natural products rich in vitamin C as oranges, lemons, dried fruits rose, red pepper, kiwi, parsley leaves, garlic, bananas, pears, apples, pineapple, chili and broccoli.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2406" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Foods rich in vitamin E such as wheat germ oil, dried wheat germ, dried apricots, hazelnuts, almonds, parsley leaves, avocado, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, spinach and green paprika on wooden table[/caption]

Will they continue to worsen if I choose not treat my melasma? Yes. The causes of skin discolourations continue to create more spots on the skin.

If I do treat it, will it come back? This will depend on your health. If you protect your skin from the sun, ensure your health is optimal and continue to use natural skin care products to create healthy skin then it is highly unlikely you will have them return. However, be mindful sun exposure is the most common cause for melisma and sun spots. Melasma, although not life threatening, are a great sign your body needs to address an imbalance that may cause more significant symptoms later on. It is also an indication of how you are caring for your skin. The sun does have great benefit in providing us Vitamin D, however too much can lead to accelerated ageing and even worse skin cancer.

So use these little insights as a reminder to perhaps look at your lifestyle choices and overall health and fine tune a few choices that will create optimal health.

Yours in health, Irene