Heat, cold, sun, sweat, genes, hormones, stress…”Blotchy skin,” notes Sharon Hochhauser, a board-certified family nurse practitioner specializing in dermatology with Advanced Dermatology PC, “can appear for many reasons. If left unaddressed, skin-discoloration conditions can interfere with people’s ability to enjoy their everyday life – and, in some cases, can develop into more serious medical issues.”

Our skin is our largest organ, with processes that require complex coordination of our body’s systems. “If there is a misfire,” explains Hochhauser, “we can end up with blotchy skin – reddened or discolored areas that can develop from conditions such as eczema, rosacea, ‘spider veins,’ ‘sunspots, ‘ and melasma.”

“Environmental triggers,” Hochhauser continues, “can exacerbate underlying genetic conditions. Early identification of the causes of blotchy skin helps with management. And in cases where blotchy skin has become permanent, we have effective interventions to restore skin tone.”

With that in mind, Hochhauser offers the following suggestions:

5 Tips to Avoid Blotchy Skin

1. Keep your skin calm so blotches stay gone “In particular,” Hochhauser notes, “eczema and rosacea flares are susceptible to environmental triggers. The red patches of rosacea can develop gradually, with intermittent flushing that increases in duration and intensity. Early identification and reducing one’s exposure to specific triggers, such as temperature extremes or spicy foods, can prevent more serious manifestations. Likewise, the red, itchy blotches of eczema can be exacerbated by environment, irritants, stress, and hormones. And both conditions require careful ongoing TLC, in particular gentle cleansing and regular moisturizing. Your skin care specialist can help you develop a management plan and choose products.”

2. Zap! Laser spider-vein blotches away! “Over time,” explains Hochhauser, “our veins may not work as efficiently, causing the appearance of red, web-like patches – medical name ‘telangiectasia.’ Especially if they appear on one’s face, which can also occur with the repeated flushing of rosacea, broken blood vessels can be distressing. Laser treatments are an effective non-invasive we can remove the blotches of spider veins.”

3. Get even with sunspots and melasma “Both conditions,” states Hochhauser, “result in darkened, blotchy skin due to overproduction of the skin pigment melanin. ‘Sunspots’ – solar lentigines – are the direct result of repeated sun exposure, whereas melasma, which typically affects women, can occur early on, with hormones playing a role. To remove and rejuvenate, we can use lasers to eliminate the underlying melanin-producing cells. Lasers can also restore unblemished skin, as can specialized exfoliation procedures such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Your skin-care specialist can also prescribe or recommend safe topical skin lighteners, which need to be chosen with care due to ongoing labeling issues that may hide the presence of dangerous ingredients like mercury.”

4. Say ‘YES!’ to NO sun “A common denominator of blotchy skin conditions,” advises Hochhauser, “is the sun. Sun exposure can exacerbate symptoms, and, in some cases – for example, with solar lentigines – it is the cause. To help treatments last and prevent relapse, patients should be vigilant every day, all year: SPF 30 mineral sunscreen to block rays, plus protective clothing and seeking shade.”

5. Not sure? See a doctor “It’s imperative,” emphasizes Hochhauser, “to rule out dangerous conditions that require medical treatment, for example skin cancer. Your dermatologist’s office can evaluate discolored skin to ensure that your condition is correctly identified and treated. With cases of rosacea and eczema, early identification is also important to jumpstart treatment that can slow progression. And with spider veins, it’s important to check for circulatory issues.”

“Blotchy skin can show up for lots of reasons,” concludes Hochhauser. “Fortunately, your dermatologist’s office has interventions that can send it packing, too.”

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