Freckles, scars, spots, strange moles, skin cancer – unfortunately, unexpected things happen. And yes, they can happen right on your face, and when they do, they may make you feel embarrassed, unattractive, or self-conscious. Often what plagues you is painfully obvious. Yet sometimes, you may not recognize what’s developing there at the bottom of your right cheek or above your left nostril. Where did it come from? Why did it target you? What can you do about it?
Discoloration is a kind of catchall word referring to any kind of dark spots, splotches, or patches on your skin. Hyperpigmentation is another term and is used interchangeably. Freckles qualify as discoloration, as do melasma and age spots.
Discoloration is caused by an excess of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. In some people, ultraviolet light, female hormones, and even age can trigger cells to overproduce melanin in odd spots. To avoid creating more discoloration, discontinue birth control pills or estrogen-replacement pills (if you’re on them) and begin using sunscreens. Bleaching products, alpha hydroxy products, retinoids, microbrasion, chemical peels, and laser therapy can also lighten marks.
The word “acne” is often used as a general term to describe any group of recurring blemishes. Yet a few whiteheads on the chin around your period is a very different thing from a scattering of scarlet nodular blemishes on your face, neck, shoulders, or back. Dermatologists call this cystic, severe, or nodular acne, and if you suffer from it, you know it is not only painful, but deeply embarrassing.
Stress appears to play a significant role in the development of cystic acne. Deep breathing, meditation, and other tension-busting activities can help prevent it.
An acne cyst begins as a pimple deep in the sebaceous gland, where excess sebum and bacteria combine to create an infected nodule. Because this disease (yes, it’s considered a disease) is disfiguring and difficult to treat with over-the-counter products, it is important to see a dermatologist, who may suggest a combination of oral and topical antibiotics, or even Accutane. This is an oral drug that suppresses sebum production: Because Accutane causes severe facial and ear deformities in fetuses, your dermatologist will require you to sign a document stating you will not get pregnant while undergoing treatment with this drug.
Large pores are created in two ways. The first is through aggressive squeezing of blackheads and whiteheads, which stretches the pore. The second is heavy sebum production. When the sebaceous gland produces large volumes of sebum, the pore is forced to expand to release the oil and is therefore enlarged.
Unlike normal pores, large pores are visible to people around us. They are also easily clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. At the moment, there is no product or treatment available that can close these pores up to normal size. The best you can do is keep pores debris-free with thorough cleansing, exfoliation, masks, and professional facials – all will help make pores appear slightly smaller.