This image is taken from a study on identical twins, one of whom is a smoker.. the image is a split face- the( R ) side being from the non-smoker, the (L) side being from the smoker. for more info about how smoking damages *Effects Will Vary* see –Ways Smoking Affects Looks.
Brown spots, otherwise known as photopigmentation
, are the result of years of exposure to UV radiation, causing oxidative damage, leading to loss of moisture retention, loss of elasticity, diffuse pigmentation changes, plus mutations in cellular DNA leading to the development of precancerous and cancerous lesions.
Smokers will develop more extensive and severe sun damage, due to the extensive degradation of metalloproteins or building blocks of collagen, plus the pro-carcinogenic effects of multiple chemicals present in cigarette smoke.
It is important to have a thorough inspection of areas where brown spots are present by a physician, as pigmented lesions can run the gamut from benign solar lentigines, seborrheic keratoses, through atypical melanocytic naevi to outright malignant melanoma.
Risk factors for skin cancer include multiple atypical naevi, a bad sunburn at a young age, use of sunbeds, family history of skin cancer.
1 in 7 Canadians will develop invasive skin cancer in their lifetime.
There are 3 main types of skin cancer
- Basal Cell Carcinoma– which is most frequently seen in the triangular area bounded by the nose and eyes, and typically looks like an ulcer with pearly edges;
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma- appears as rough or warty lesions, typically on the temples or backs of the hands.
- Malignant Melanoma, which looks like a mole, and can occur anywhere on the body. Danger signs to watch out for in a mole or freckle are:
- uneven or changing pigmentation
- enlarging size
- uneven borders or satellite lesions
- bleeding or itching
All suspicious lesions should be biopsied to rule out cancer.
At The Lazer Room, all patients are screened by Dr Hyland prior to treatments for brown spots, whether it be a series of AFA peels or IPL (intense pulsed light) or Fraxel Dual.
Examples of non-cancerous “brown spots” that are treated with other modalities: