What Is Blotchy Skin?
Blotchy skin is a common problem that is indicated by red, gray or brown patches on one’s skin. Blotchy skin may appear on other parts of the body, but this problem is usually associated with the face. It is sometimes hard to control blotchy skin, but luckily, there are ways to treat this problem or prevent its appearance altogether.
Blotchy skin is usually a result of pigmentation or the change in the level of melanin in the skin. The purpose of melanin is to protect the skin from the sun, and to provide color to the skin. It is worth noting that blotchy skin is regarded as one of the most frequent reasons why people decide to visit a dermatologist.
What Causes Blotchy Skin?
Blotchy skin can affect women more often than men. Causes of blotchy skin are:
- Age – age plays a significant role in the development of wrinkles, lines, and in the appearance of blotchiness.
Blotchy skin, which is the result of age, is indicated by patches of dark brown color and tends to look like big freckles. These spots are the result of long-term exposure to the sun or of genetic factors. Some people develop blotchy skin and dark spots due to their genetic structure.
- Some Skin Conditions – they often lead to blotchiness and cause uneven texture of the skin. Conditions that can cause blotchy skin are:
- Acne – adults as well as adolescence are prone to acne. Acne usually appears due to excess bacteria, oil, and skin.
- Rosacea – usually affects women and it occurs after the age of 30. It is indicated by occasional flushing which later turns into permanent redness on the person’s face. Other indicators of this disorder are small and visible blood vessels across the cheeks.
- Psoriasis – is a condition which increases the speed of skin cells’ growth which leads to thick and red patches of skin.
- Allergies – various allergies cause itching and irritations of the skin which can lead to severe skin damage and eventually change its texture.
How Is Blotchy Skin Diagnosed?
Diagnosing blotchy skin is conducted by visually examining the affected area. When you notice changed structure of the skin or the appearance of reddish or brownish patches, visit your dermatologist.
The dermatologist will check the affected area and perform a few tests to rule out the presence of an underlying condition that caused the blotchy skin. They will probably use Wood’s lamp (which is a light that a dermatologist holds against the patient’s skin in order to get a better look at the affected area).
In case of any other concerns, the dermatologist might perform a biopsy (which is done by removing a small piece of skin from the affected area).
What Are The Treatments For Blotchy Skin?
Blotchy skin can often go away on its own. This happens in cases when the condition is triggered by factors like pregnancy or birth control medications. However, some people struggle with this condition for years. There are several medications that are helpful for the treatment of blotchy skin. These include:
- Hydroquinone – it is one of the most frequently used medications for the treatment of blotchy skin. It is applied directly to the affected area for the purpose of lightening the skin patches. Hydroquinone can be found in creams, lotions, gels etc. which are usually purchased with a prescription. Of course, it is possible to purchase lotions or creams containing hydroquinone without a prescription, but these products contain less hydroquinone than the ones only available by prescription, and therefore their effectiveness is significantly lower.
- Corticosteroids And Tretinoin – just like hydroquinone, these two substances aim to lighten the skin. Dermatologists often prescribe “triple creams” which include corticosteroids, tretinoin, and hydroquinone at the same time.
- Other Medications – dermatologists usually prescribe medications which contain ingredients that lighten the skin patches. These medications, besides the ingredients we already mentioned, can also contain azelaic or kojic acid.
- Chemical peel – this eliminates dead skin cells from the skin which stimulates the generation of healthy skin cells.
- Microdermabrasion – is the process of exfoliation of skin’s outer layers in order to encourage the growth of healthy skin.
- Intense Pulsed Light (Ipl) Therapy – includes treatment of the skin with flashes of light from a strong xenon lamp. It is primarily used for resolving problems with pigmentation.
- Laser Skin Resurfacing – a wavelength laser beam is used in order to dissolve skin’s molecular bonds and to vaporize skin’s outer layers. This procedure results in tight and smooth skin.
How Can Blotchy Skin Be Prevented?
Blotchy skin can be unappealing and once the patches start to appear it is difficult to make them go away. However, you can prevent them from appearing on your face and have a healthy skin by following these instructions:
- Wear Sun Protection – sun rays are harmful as they can lead to numerous skin conditions. Naturally, you have to go out, but what you can do is to wear sun protection in order to maintain your skin tone and prevent the change of the skin’s texture.
- Do Not Touch Your Face – dermatologists always repeat that piece of advice. By touching your face, you are transmitting various bacteria from your fingertips onto the sensitive skin on your face, which can lead to the appearance of acne among other skin conditions.
- Do Not Touch Your Acne Or Rash – whenever you notice something on your face, do not touch it all the time. You should only touch the affected area with a cotton pad while you’re cleaning your face.
- Consult the dermatologist about any changes you see on your face. If you notice something that was never there before or if you get acne that just won’t go away, visit your dermatologist and ask about the best way to treat it. It is always important to treat the root of the problem because various skin conditions can involve blotchy skin. When you eliminate the problem you have, e.g. acne, it will reduce the chances of getting blotchy skin.
Dos And Don’t’s For Blotchy Skin
- DO exfoliate your skin regularly. This process removes dead skin cells from your face. While exfoliating, you should focus on dry and rough patches of the skin. Exfoliation is done gently in upward and circular motions. After exfoliation, apply gentle moisturizer that will nourish your skin.
- DON’T rub your skin with the towel after you wash your face or take a shower. Instead of rubbing, take the towel and pat the skin gently.
- DO use makeup that is mineral-based. This type of makeup is better for your skin than regular makeup and doesn’t usually cause irritations.
- DON’T use makeup and other skin care products that contain a high level of alcohol. Alcohol is not good for your skin and can dry it out. In fact, in order to have a healthy and normal skin, it is advised not to drink alcohol as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (Faq’s)
1. What Is The Medical Term For Blotchy Skin?
The medical term for blotchy skin is Melasma.
2. Does Diet Play Role In Blotchy Skin?
Your diet always has a big impact on the quality of your skin. An unbalanced diet can also lead to numerous skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, acne etc. Foods that can lead to blotchy skin are pasta, seeds, bread, oils, coffee, cakes, and alcoholic beverages. Foods that have a positive effect on the skin are vegetables, fruits, greens, potatoes, citrus, quinoa, etc. It is recommended to keep a food diary, in case you are not sure whether you are allergic to certain ingredient you haven’t tried yet. Also, it is good to avoid hot and spicy foods, and hot drinks. You should always wait for a while and allow the food or drink to cool off.
3. Why Am I Getting Dark Patches On My Skin?
Dark patches can appear on anyone’s face or other body parts. However, people with dark skin are more prone to developing these patches because their skin produces more melanin.
4. Can Moisturizer Help Blotchy Skin?
Yes, they can. Naturally, the type of moisturizer you use is very important When your skin is blotchy, you should buy a moisturizer that contains humectant. This ingredient will keep your skin and the patches on it moisturized and nourished. Humectants to look for are glycerin, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), and urea.
5. Should Men Be Concerned About Blotchy Skin?
Men can have blotchy skin too; however women are usually more prone to this condition than men.
6.Is Skin Peeling Good For Blotchy Skin?
Chemical peel is a process where the dermatologist uses chemical acids to remove damaged and dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin. It increases the smoothness of the skin, improves its texture and it is most frequently done in cases of uneven pigmentation, and for the treatment of wrinkles and blemishes.
7. Can I Get Blotchy Skin During Pregnancy?
Yes, the appearance of blotchy skin is common during pregnancy. Women develop colored skin patches on their faces, and the condition is also known as “mask of pregnancy”.
Blotchy skin is one of the most common skin conditions, and it does not have any systematic symptoms. It is usually the result of various skin conditions, genetics, sun exposure, some diseases, etc. Removing reddish or brownish colored patches isn’t easy but it is possible with effective treatments. However, there are ways to prevent the condition by regular exfoliation, sun protection, and proper skin care.
- Miot LD, Miot HA, Silva MG, Marques ME. Physiopathology of melasma. An Bras Dermatol. 2009.
- Souza SR, Fischer FM, Souza JM. Suntanning and risk of cutaneous melanoma: a literature review. Rev Saude Publica. 2004.
- James, William; Berger, Timothy; Elston, Dirk (2005). Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. (10th ed.). Saunders.