Why does it take forever for marks to fade on my skin, when I no longer go out in the sun?
Brown marks are a sign of hyperpigmentation, or discoloration of the skin, caused by inflammation, hormonal flux and genetics. Inflammation that can turn into hyperpigmentation can come from UV exposure (current or older exposure that is working its way to the surface) whether from the real sun in the sky or from tanning beds. Marks that don’t fade out can also be the result of acne, insect bites, scars, or other injuries to the skin that turn darker before they lighten up. Hormonally-induced hyperpigmentation appears most often during pregnancy but can occur with any fluctuation in hormones, such as puberty, the use of birth control pills and menopause. The right combination of products and targeted treatments can help lift your existing hyperpigmentation, stop it from getting worse, and also prevent more from forming. SPF20-30 is mandatory daily, if your skin is prone to hyperpigmentation. If you are going to be outside for more than a few hours, you should plan to reapply sunscreen to exposed areas of skin (face, neck, chest, hands, legs, etc). Exfoliation is an important part of a spot free regimen. Sloughing off the dead surface cells will help to increase cell turnover. Mild peels and microdermabrasion work best. More aggressive peels can increase inflammation. The best ingredients to look for to keep skin clear of brown spots and blotches include: retinol, glycolic acid, vitamin C, kojic acid, azelaic acid. If your skin tends to hyperpigment, you need to stay on a preventative program to keep it clear. Sun avoidance is a must too. Every time your skin gets exposed to UVA/UVB, is another instance where inflammation can lead to skin darkening. It’s an uphill battle, but with consistent good habits, you can master it.