Summer is coming to an end, and that means you might notice a few new spots on your skin after spending all that time at the beach. Sunspots on your skin are pretty common, but it turns out there are quite a few different kinds, and some could potentially turn into skin cancer down the road.
That’s why it’s important to understand what kind of sunspot you have. Take control of your skin health and keep reading to learn about the different types of sunspots, as well as how to get gorgeous, glowing, blemish-free skin.
The Melanoma Foundation describes moles as a cluster of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. Most of your moles will pop up in childhood or during your younger adult years, but the Cleveland Clinic says you can still develop new moles as an older adult. Existing moles often become darker after you spend time in the sun.
Hormonal changes (such as pregnancy) can also cause existing moles to change, according to the Mayo Clinic. Moles can turn into skin cancer, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any changes. If your moles have changed color or size, have an irregular border, or are asymmetrical, it’s best to head to your dermatologist for a skin check.
These little brown sunspots on your skin are caused by UV production, which stimulates the overproduction of melanin, according to Healthline. That’s why freckles often appear in areas where the sun has hit, such as your face.
The good news is that freckles are usually harmless. You might even notice that your freckles disappear in the winter and reappear in the summer. Freckles are a total beauty trend these days, so embrace what you’ve got and show off those beautiful freckles.
Another common type of sunspot on your skin could be age spots. These spots are harmless and caused by UV production and an overproduction of melanin (however, age spots won’t fade and come back with the change of seasons like freckles will).
Age spots can range in color, but they’re usually light or dark brown. They tend to show up on sun-exposed areas, such as your face, upper back, and forearms. You’re more likely to get age spots if you’ve had a lot of sun exposure (including from tanning beds) or you have fair skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology states that melasma is characterized by grayish brown patches that show up on the face, specifically on the forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose, above the upper lip, and chin. It can also show up on the forearms and neck, two other areas that receive a lot of sun exposure.
Melasma is very common among pregnant women, as hormones are a trigger for it. If your melasma was caused by hormones, it’ll often go away on its own. That being said, once the melasma is gone, it may come back. Melasma isn’t dangerous, but if the way it looks bothers you, you can ask your dermatologist about skin-lightening creams.
How to Keep Your Skin Spot-Free
Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily is one of the best things you can do for your skin health—no matter the time of year—to prevent new spots or the darkening of existing spots. Choose one with an SPF of 30 or higher and apply it every two hours, suggests the Skin Cancer Foundation. Other skin health measures you can take to protect yourself from the sun are limiting how much sunshine you soak up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and staying in the shade when possible.
Sun protection is key to help prevent premature signs of aging. In-office cosmetic treatments can help you keep your skin looking youthful and glowing, too. ThreeForMe™ treats wrinkles and pigmentation caused by sun damage, so that you can feel more confident in your skin again.
The bottom line: Pay attention to new and changing spots on your skin. It never hurts to pay a visit to your dermatologist if you’re concerned. But, with due diligence when it comes to sun protection, you can help keep your skin as spot-free as possible. See ya later, spots!