While the summer sun may make a welcome change to our less than balmy climate, it can cause problems for those who suffer from patches of hyperpigmented skin. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces melanin as a defence mechanism.

Prolonged and unprotected exposure, combined with age, can cause the skin to lose its capacity to regulate the production of melanin in an even way. This can result in the appearance of darker patches of skin, which we often call age spots or liver spots.

They can appear anywhere on the body or face that has been left unprotected from the sun, although they are most commonly found on the face, neck, chest and hands. They can make people look much older than they really are, and once they are there, they will not disappear on their own. Indeed, they will continue to darken with continued sunshine.

The only way to prevent further darkening is to ensure that sunblock is worn on a daily basis, along with protective clothing. If the UV rays cannot reach the skin, they cannot provoke further melanin production.

For some, the problem may already have reached a point where they need pigmentation treatment rather than management. If this is the case, laser treatment can provide real results, evening out skin tone and causing hyperpigmented patched to fade.