Culprits and Solutions for Brown Spots and Patches
Melanin gets a bad rep by those who do not understand its benefits. The hormone responsible for producing Melanocyte is aptly called melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) it is produced in the hypothalamus and can suppress appetite, has anti-inflammatory effects, can influence the release of the hormone aldosterone, which controls salt and water balance in the body, and also has an effect on sexual behavior.
Melanin (from the Greek Word for black pigment, Melas) is a group of natural pigments. Melanin is responsible for color in most living things. Produced through a process called Melanogenis is produced in cells called Meloncytes. There are two types of melanin, eumelanin (brown and black hues) and phaomelanin (red and yellow hues). Less melanin means less pigment and lighter skin, more melanin means more pigment and darker skin. It’s important to know what it is so we can know how to prevent and when it has gone awry, how to treat it. Science lesson over!
Melanin: The Good
It is responsible for the beautiful colors in skin tones, eyes and hair color. It protects us from harmful UV rays. And when those UV rays penetrate the skin, Melanin acts a sunscreen to protect us from the harmful effects of UV rays. Suntans and burns occurs when melanin production is stimulated, the area becomes inflamed to create a shield and protect the skin from adverse effects of UV exposure. Increasing Melanin through the use of antioxidants (dark leafy vegetables), Vitamin A (carrots and spinach), Caretoenoids (oranges and Vitamins C and are all good options for positive melanin production.
Melanin: The Bad
Like most things in our world there is a good and a bad side to Melanin. When the melanocytes (remember these are the cells where melanin is made) become damaged or unhealthy for some reason, the result is discolored (brown, yellow) spots and patches. At its worst damaged melanocytes, according to Healthline, can lead to cancer causing mutations. On the other end, are results like Melasma. Melasma is not necessarily harmful to us physically but it can absolutely be damaging to our self image. Malasma is an epidermal hyperpigmentation caused by increased melanogenesis.
Melanin: The Ugly
The cancer causing effects can look like flat reddish or brownish patches in the skin, often with a rough, scaly, or crusted surface. They tend to grow slowly and usually occur on sun-exposed areas of the body, but not always. If you see patches like this see your dermatologist.
Hyperpigmentation will show up as random spots or patches anywhere on the face, neck, etc.
Melasma, on the other hand appears in blotchy but uniform consistent patterns on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin and upper lip.
Another difference to keep in mind is Hyperpigmentation is affected by external factors, whereas melasma is affected by internal factors, such as hormones.
So where does the damage to melanocytes come from? We all know that sun exposure or worse sun exposure on unprotected skin is a huge culprit. But, the truth is there are several things that cause these cells to become unhealthy and damaged both external and internal.
The Malasma, Hyperpigmentation Plot Thickens
Apart from sun exposure, certain illnesses such as some genetics, your mom, dad, grandma may have given you this lovely gift (sarcasm) but it could also be from an autoimmune or gastrointestinal diseases, metabolic disorders or vitamin deficiencies. Certain medications such as chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, antimalarials and anti-seizure drugs may also cause hyperpigmentation. Hormonal shifts such as pregnancy and menopause, side effects of dermatological procedures, even your mobile phone and computer screen can cause an over production of melanin leading to hyperpigmentation! (See our side article on Tech effects on your skin. Screen Skin)..
Stop the Spots: How to Prevent Hyperpigmentation and Malasma.
- Stay out of the sun! Use a sunscreen that protects you from UV rays as well as pollutants that harm your skin, like MCCM’s Sun Cream SPF 50+. or City Protect SPF 50
- Alcohol-based products, like your perfume can increase skin pigment production when exposed to the sun. Apply/spray fragrances underneath your clothes instead of on sun exposed skin.
- Be consistent, Rainy or sunny, direct or indirect exposure, protect yourself at all times.
- Establish a good cleansing routine. (see our Skincare Reboot article on establishing a good routine). According to Dr. Shadi Kourosh, Director of Pigmentation Disorders at Boston General Hospital, environmental pollutants contribute to melasma. By protecting the surface through proper cleansing we protect the skin from the damage. By following up with the products that protect we further help our skin remain or recover the beauty it deserves. MCCM Cvita 180º Cream is a lightening cream with an anti-oxidant effect. It prevents photo aging and spots. It protects against the formation of free radicals, due to oxidation stress.
- Use a Vitamin C Serum to improve skin health such as MCCM Vitamin C Solution which helps neutralize free radicals and protect the skin, while whitening.
- Eat healthy and exercise. You knew this one was going to be here, right? A healthy diet rich in anti-oxidants, omega 3’s protect your skin and according to webmd Omega 3’s known for their heart protection can even inhibit cell tumor growth. Exercise for Healthy Skin. … “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin,” says Marmur. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells.
Treat Me Kind, Hyperpigmentations Hyper Successful Solutions
Professional treatments such as Chemical peels and laser therapy can help reduce hyperpigmentation. However, these treatments can also irritate skin and can even cause hyperpigmentation. Why? Treatments cause inflammation, inflammation can cause hyper-pigmentation.
The MelanoOUT System
The Melano Out System, a professional treatment from MCCM is one of the least invasive de-pigmentation treatments. The MilanoOut System is
and available for spa and medical professionals through RD Management at MyRDM.com. The results appear within 14 days of the treatment and get better and better during usage of the maintenance cream. One of our employees, Kelly O, kept a diary of her experience with this treatment. See her findings below. The MilanoOut System acts on the cells responsible for the skin coloration, reducing the production of excess color and is very effective in the elimination and/or decreasing of brown patches. The results? Excellent and Uniform skin tone without surgery or side effects.
The Kelly O, MilanoOut System Diary:
The Kelly O, MilanoOut System Diary
My name is Kelly and this is my diary entries for using the MelanoOut Kit treatment protocol from MCCM. This is my first time every doing a whitening treatment to treat my brown spots on my face. I am of European decent and have very light skin the burns easily but eventually I will tan. My skin is definitely on the sensitive side so I am a bit nervous about this hurting; but I hate my brown spots enough to try anyway. I am 50 years old. I typically have oily/combination skin that breaks out easily.
I spent quite a bit of time reviewing the protocol and studying the enclosed products so that I fully understood the procedure and the expectations from each step. Then I started with a really thorough cleansing of my face with the MCCM cleansing milk and followed with the MCCM facial tonic. No problem! Then I proceeded to Degreasing solution which did not cause any sensation at all. Then I applied the Pre-treatment, and again no problems. Using a brush, I then applied the treatment mask being careful to avoid my eyes nose and mouth. It has a very sticky texture so it is important to make sure your hair is off your face.
My recommended time to leave the mask on according to my phototype was four hours. I was surprised that I did not experience any heat or tingling with the application of the mask and other than a little bit of heating a couple of hours in, I did not have any adverse reaction to the mask at all. So I was a bit worried at first that maybe the mask did not work for me. I removed the mask with cold water exactly four hours after the application. I did read that there are more intensive ways to do this treatment but as my skin tends to be so sensitive, I was glad I did this way for my first time. I applied the Hydraface cream and 50+ sunscreen and that was the end of day one treatment.
Day two: I did not apply any of the MelanoOut cream until the evening time. No problems with my skin. I did notice it was redder than usual and I was careful to stay out of the sun even though I was wearing sun screen and the Hydraface cream as recommended. I am wearing sun screen every day during this month.
Day three: Today I notice that my skin was very dry. I started applying the MelanoOut Cream three times a day and I am putting on pretty thick. It stings on my skin! I think it is because my skin is so dried out. I followed protocol exactly for the entire day. I really noticed the stinging especially at night. The cream is thick and sticky and brown in color. It was not comfortable to wear but putting on the Hydroface helped. I am not wearing any makeup yet even though it says I can in the protocol.
Day four: Wow. This was not a fun day. My skin is defiantly starting to have a reaction. Certain areas on my chin, the apples of my cheeks and along my jaw line are super dried out and feel raw. It feels like a really bad sunburn. I am continuing to put the cream on three times a day but hate doing it because it stings after each application. I am continuing to do it really thick. The wind outside hurts it. Again, it feels very much like a severe sun burn or wind burn.
Day five:After checking with my treatment professional, I realize that it is not necessary to put the cream on as heavy as I have been. I literally have areas on my face that seem raw from being so dried out. So per instructions, I am not putting on the cream for a day, just Hyrdoface cream and sunscreen
Day six:Today I only put the cream on at night as my face is still stinging when I put anything on it at all. Still have some very raw places on my face where the treatment is really working hard. I noticed that the dark spots seem to be more and darker. It seems to be actually pulling the spots out in places where I didn’t have them before. So it seems to be actually working to pull melanin out before it started to show.
Day 7:I spoke to my treatment professional today. The burn in my face just is bothering me so much and it is so tight and itchy. I began to wonder did I do something wrong. Is this just too strong for my skin? She suggested that I switch from the MCCM Hydroface cream to Matis absolute soothing serum and Delicate moisturizing cream. It was immediate relief on my skin. I wish I had been using it all along. I am sure for normal skin the Hydroface is fine, but for my sensitive skin, I needed much more hydration and soothing. I also did a cream facial mask today that helped smooth and moisturize my skin.
Day 8:My skin has started to flake off and I can actually see the dark spots lifting off on the dead skin! I love that! There is still a less dark spot under the areas that are flaking off but hopefully those will begin to lighten or flake off too. Continuing with the Matis absolute soothing serum and Delicate moisturizing cream three times a day after I put on the MelanoOut cream. It is slowly healing the skin and getting softer and less red with each use.
Day 9 -12:Continuing the protocol of three times a day for MelanoOut cream, Soothing serum and moisturizer followed by sun screen. I can see definite changes. I am so relieved to see that the flaking is getting better and my skin is no longer burning or itching. It is still a bit red in places but each day is improving. Occasionally, when I put the MelanoOut on there is a slight tingling sensation, but it goes away quickly and is not bad at all. I think the flaking and drying out was the product working for me and should not have been so scared by it. I think that if I had just started with the soothing serum and moisturizer, while I still probably would have had the sunburn effect, it wouldn’t have lasted so long or been so uncomfortable.
I started noticing on day 12 that one area of melasma is definitely starting to lighten. I am looking forward to seeing more results now!
We will be checking in on Kelly February 4 for more results.
More about the MelanoOut System: The MELANOout System is based on the inhibition of tyrosinase, a basic enzyme in the melanin formation process. Several of the substances present in the MELANOout System formula actuate by blocking this enzyme, or even by inverting the metabolic process of the transformation chain.
Ingredients in the MelanoOut System Products:
- KOJIC ACID: • Decrease the proliferative activity of melanocytes, inhibiting the formation and melanization of melanosomes and promoting their degradation; depigmenting and whitening agent.
- AZELAIC ACID: • Reduces the epidermal melanogenesis; replace the abnormal melanocytes by normal cells.
- ARBUTIN: • Depigmenting substance that prevents the formation of melanin and stains; inhibits tyrosinase and thus prevents the formation of melanin; a skin-lightening agent. Arbutin is found in wheat, and is concentrated in pear skins.
- PHYTIC ACID: • Is an inhibitor of tyrosinase, blocking the entry of iron and copper in the formation of melanin.
- ASCORBIC ACID (VIT. C.): • Healing, helping on establishing collagen; anti-oxidant properties; whitening agent.
- APRICOT KERNEL OIL: • Soften the skin; easily penetrates into the skin If you are concerned by hyper-pigmentation, look out for skincare products that have been formulated to address this concern and that are clinically and dermatologically proven to be effective.
Other products mentioned in this article:
MelanoOut Cream is designed to reduce and to eliminate skin blemishes of melanic origin localized on the epidermal layer
Vitamin C Airless Solution” antioxidant properties help neutralize free radicals and protect the skin. An excellent whitening agent and protects the skin against the UVA/UVB radiation.