If your skin has dark patches, spots or discolorations then you are a victim of blotchy skin. This is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. If you want to prevent your skin from becoming blotchy or you just want to treat the blotchiness you already have, then this guide is for you.
What Causes Blotchiness?
Discolorations in your skin are cause by any number of factors. The most common one is excess melanin being produced in a condition known as hyperpigmentation. Melanin is the chemical in your body that produces the pigmentation or coloring in your skin. People with darker skin tones have more melanin. That melanin is both a combination of their genetics and their environment. So if you live in a sunny area, your skin will naturally tan as more melanin is produced.
Now that is the natural cause for too much pigment and the blotchiness it can cause, but what about causes that you can actually control? There are two of those- melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Melasma is caused by changing hormone levels, which is why it is sometimes called pregnancy mask. As the hormones in the body change, the levels of melanin being produced change as well, causing uneven looking patches on the skin where some portions are darker than others.
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by trauma to the skin. This trauma can be anything as small as a pimple and it could range all the way u to cuts, scrapes and bruises. All of these occurrences damage the skin, and the skin will react in a way that sometimes caused extra melanin to be produced. That trauma can create layers of dead skin cells, and these can build up and darken the skin without the need for melanin.
How to Prevent Blotchy Skin
If you want to keep your skin from becoming blotchy, then you need to protect it. If you know the causes of blotchiness, then you are already well on your way to making that happen.
You want to start with prevention. You may not be able to keep your skin safe from every kind of trauma, but you can certainly minimize your skin’s risk of trauma. If you are going to go outside for more than a few minutes at a time, you should wear protection from the sun. Any parts of your body not covered by clothing should be coated with sunscreen containing enough SPF to fully protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Remember how we mentioned that trauma causes blotches sometimes? Well, sunshine can be one cause of skin trauma, but its damages are easy enough to protect against.
You also want to be careful about acne breakouts on your skin. The kind of treatment you use to protect your skin against acne will vary depending on your skin type. You wouldn’t want to use a lot of moisturizer if your skin is oily, and you won’t want to exfoliate too harshly if your skin is dry. You basically need to keep your skin as clean as you can while making sure it has the appropriate level of hydration to be soft. You can do that by eating right and getting plenty of liquids each day. But you also need to watch what you put on your skin.
Some people will need to avoid oil-based applications altogether. If you already have oily skin and you use lotions, moisturizers and various creams as part of your beauty regimen, then you may need to examine what kind of base they have to see if they are really benefitting your skin.
You also need to protect against an accumulation of dead skin cells. Just bathing regularly helps to keep your skin reasonably clean, but you can use an exfoliator as well to help ensure that dead skin cells are removed. Also keep an eye out for instances of skin trauma. Whenever you have dealt with acne, bruises, cuts and other damage to your skin, make sure that you are getting rid of the dead skin cells. Gently exfoliate on the areas that were affected, and you can get rid of most dead skin cells before they can build up and discolor your skin.
Treating Blotchy Skin
Maybe your skin is already blotchy. If that’s the case, then you are going to need treatment to ensure that it returns to its normal coloring. You have two main tools in the fight against blotchiness- exfoliators and urea.
We already covered how great exfoliating treatments are for dealing with dead skin cells and preventing blotchiness, but they are also perfect for getting rid of blotchiness once it has occurred. But the exfoliator is only going to work for your blotchy skin if your condition is caused by dead skin cells. The exfoliator pulls up the dead cells and removes them, allowing healthy cells to grow in their place. This treatment can work for dead cells caused by pretty much anything, but you do need to be careful about how forceful and rigorous your exfoliating is. You don't want to damage the healthy cells.
For actual discolorations caused by melanin, you can use creams that contain urea. This naturally restores your skin cells to their former appearance. It is not going to work for every instance of skin darkening, and it won't always rejuvenate the skin entirely, but it can make a major difference in how you skin appears.
For many people, that is enough to use a rejuvenating cream. Before you buy one and fall for the claims on the packaging, make sure it contains urea as one of the active ingredients.
You should also consider talking to a dermatologist if other methods do not work or if your condition is severe enough. The dermatologist will be able to examine your skin more closely and determine what will be the best solution to deal with your case of blotchy skin. Also keep in mind that the sooner you deal with blotchiness, the more effective treatments for the condition will be.