Spots on the face: types, causes, treatments and how to eliminate them permanently

Spots on the face: types, causes, treatments and how to eliminate them permanently

Facial blemishes, or hyperpigmentation, are a major cosmetic concern because they directly impact the quality of life and self-esteem of those who have them.

There are different types of spots and it is essential to distinguish them before starting any depigmentation treatment.

Most dark spots are caused by melanin, which means they are the result of overproduction of this pigment. Within this category, the main types of skin spots are PIH, melasma, liver or age spots, and freckles.

A doctor’s diagnosis is essential to distinguish between melanin-related spots that can be treated with depigmentation methods and other types of spots such as melanoma, angiomas, and vitiligo.

Spots on the face: hyperpigmentation of the skin on the face

The term hyperpigmentation is used to identify excess pigments in our skin. “Hyper” means excess, while “pigmentation” means accumulation and coloration of pigment.

Hyperpigmentation is the name given to the appearance of spots caused by the overproduction of the colored pigment called melanin, which gives our skin color, and by the collection of melanin under the skin.

That’s why conditions like pregnancy and Addison’s disease, where more melanin is produced, are more likely to occur.

Another cause of hyperpigmentation is undoubtedly being in the sun without protection, as excessive exposure to sunlight leads to a darkening of the hyperpigmented areas of the skin.

In addition to environmental factors, the use of some antibiotics and medications can also cause the overproduction of melanin.

Blemishes on the skin often lead to the appearance of dull, blotchy skin, enlarged pores and a rough face, imperfections that are evident even over makeup and prevent the face from looking flawless.

Causes of spots on the face

Melanin, as a natural pigment that gives color to our skin, hair and eyes, is the main source of increased hyperpigmentation.

A number of factors can trigger an increase in it, but the main causes are sun exposure, hormonal effects, age and skin lesions or inflammation.

Apart from these, chronic liver diseases, endocrine causes and some medications trigger hyperpigmentation.

  • Sun exposure is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation as it is sunlight that triggers melanin production in the first place. Melanin acts as a natural sunscreen, protecting us from harmful UV rays, but long exposure to the sun can disrupt this process and lead to hyperpigmentation.
  • Hormonal changes are another cause of hyperpigmentation. One example is melasma or chloasma, particularly common among pregnant women or as a side effect of some hormonal treatments.
  • Hyperpigmentation after inflammation (PIH). It occurs after cuts, burns, exposure to chemicals, acne, atopic dermatitis, and skin lesions or inflammations, such as psoriasis. After the wound heals, the skin darkens and changes color.
  • Hyperpigmentation is also a symptom of some diseases, such as some autoimmune and gastrointestinal diseases, metabolic disorders and vitamin deficiencies.
  • It can also be triggered by certain drugs called photosensitizers, such as chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, malaria drugs, contraceptives, anti-inflammatories, and antihistamines.
  • Other causes

    Other factors also contribute to the appearance of dark spots:

    • Skin aging: After the age of 40, disorders involving the production and distribution of melanin increase, leading to age spots that are more frequent in areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, hands and arms.
    • Genetic predisposition: specific genetic factors predispose some people to develop abnormal skin pigmentation. Exposure to sunlight often makes these anomalies more visible. This is the case with freckles, which are especially common in fair-skinned people with red hair.
    • Exposure to Chemicals: Certain chemicals such as perfumes, deodorants, or oils can cause phototoxicity which may be the source behind some hyperpigmentations.

    Which subjects can suffer more than others?

    The groups most at risk in terms of hyperpigmentation are those with light skin or those going through particular conditions, such as pregnancy, or an illness that requires the use of photosensitizing drugs.

    Another group with the highest incidence of hyperpigmentation are the elderly. Age spots appear as small black spots on the hands, legs and neck and are caused by excessive exposure of the person to the sun and therefore by the accumulation of melanin.

    Age spots often begin to appear around the age of 40 and more in fair-skinned people.

    Spots on the face: all types

    Symptoms of facial hyperpigmentation can vary, but the most common ones include:

    • Appearance of dark or other colored and/or irregular spots on the skin of the face.
    • Skin darker or lighter than normal in some areas of the face.
    • Dull or dull skin.
    • Skin thinner or thicker than normal in some areas.
    • Increased sensitivity of the skin to the sun.
    • Dry or flaky skin in some areas of the face.

    The shades in which hyperpigmentation occurs are different, in general, they can be brown, black, gray, red or bluish, depending on the underlying cause.

    Characteristics of dark spots

    Dark spots on the face can look like:

  • Round or bumpy spots on the skin.
  • Color dark brown, black or gray.
  • Variable dimensions, from a few millimeters to several centimeters.
  • They can appear on different parts of the face, such as the cheeks, nose, forehead or chin.
  • They may be more noticeable after sun exposure or in cases of increased inflammation on the skin (PIH).
  • Light spots

    Light spots on the face can be caused by several conditions, but in general they can:

  • Be white, light pink, or tan in color.
  • Be uniform or irregular.
  • Appear on different parts of the face, such as cheeks, forehead or chin.
  • Being, as well as dark spots, more evident after sun exposure or in case of an increase in inflammation on the skin.
  • In some cases, light spots on the face may be associated with skin conditions such as vitiligo or pityriasis alba.

    Red spots

    Red spots on the face can have different causes and present themselves in different ways, but in general they can be characterized by:

  • Edges often irregular.
  • Flat or raised shape and protrude from the skin.
  • Pain or itching.
  • Burning, dry or peeling skin.
  • Appearing on different parts of the face or localized in specific areas such as the cheeks, nose or chin.
  • Red spots on the face can be caused by a variety of conditions, including acne, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, or allergies.

    Features of the blue spots

    Blue-colored facial hyperpigmentation can be caused by several conditions, including:

    • Hori syndrome.
    • Pigmented eczema.
    • Use of photosensitizing drugs.
    • Accumulation of iron pigments.
    • venous congestion.

    Hori syndrome, for example, is a rare condition that causes blue-gray hyperpigmentation of the skin on the face, neck and backs of the hands.

    Pigmented eczema, on the other hand, is a form of eczema that causes bluish or black patches on the skin. The use of photosensitizing drugs, such as some antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, can cause them to appear.

    Spots on the face: differences between melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation

    Some of the main types of spots on the face are associated with common causes such as inflammation, hormonal changes due to pregnancy or skin aging. Let’s see in detail.

    What is postinflammatory hyperpigmentation?

    Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) occurs when the skin produces extra melanin after being irritated or injured and can affect the epidermis, which is the surface layer of the skin, or the dermis, which is a deep layer of the skin.

    This skin condition manifests itself as light brown, dark brown, and even blue-gray patches on the skin. The most common causes are acne and eczema, but any trauma or irritation to the skin has the potential to cause postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

    Other commonly known causes include:

    • Infections.
    • Stings.
    • Burns.
    • Razor strokes.
    • Allergic reactions.
    • Psoriasis.


    Another example of hyperpigmentation is melasma. These are mostly brownish regional darkening of the skin in the face area.

    Melasma occurs more in pregnant women, or in those on hormone therapy. It usually goes away on its own after pregnancy, but sometimes the application of specific creams is necessary.

    Good habits in this case help a lot. For example, staying out of sunlight and using sunscreen can be a great form of prevention. Sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are also more suitable.

    Age spots

    Age spots, i.e. senile lentigo, are symptoms of skin discolouration in some areas and darkening in others, and are due to the uneven production of melanin which usually occurs with advancing age. .

    Often the age spot is confused with freckles, but it is another thing, so much so that its appearance appears darker than the latter and larger in size.

    The age at which they usually appear is…