Age spots are small dark areas on the skin. We also call them by many other names, such as solar lentigines, hyperpigmentation, or liver spots. Age spots vary from person to person and the size also varies a lot. Generally, they appear on the face, shoulders, arms, hands, back, and feet, usually in the places where we get the most sun exposure. The spots are most common with adults, especially those older than 50. As we age, it’s normal that we will gain age spots. The spots are not something dangerous, however, it hurts the appearance, that is why people want to get rid of it. Age spots treatment will help you to do just that.
Causes of age spots
Age spots are the result of excess melanin production or skin pigmentation. Many things can cause our skin to age. Age spots are natural and there’s only so much we can do to change it. One thing we cannot change is the aging process, as with time we all get lines and wrinkles on our face which make us look much older. Our environment and lifestyle choices can also cause our skin to age prematurely. We can slow the effects of premature aging on our skin by taking preventive actions each day.
Here are some factors that will increase the chances of age spots
Sun: Direct sun exposure (harmful UV), to be exact, is a major factor for age spots.
Tanning Beds: Tanning beds are responsible for reflecting about 95 percent of UV-A rays. This ray is able to penetrate deep into the skin and may also cause serious skin damage, even cancer! Commercial tanning lamps and beds contribute greatly to age spots.
Genetics: Genetics also is a key role that determines whether a person will develop liver spots as they age. People having light hair and light skin are more susceptible to the sun’s rays and a greater chance to develop the spots.
Topical Products: Perfumes and lotions containing musk or para-aminobenzoic acid have the ability to cause spots on the skin.
Medications: Certain medication like antihistamines, antidepressants, antibiotics, retinoids and many more, can make the skin more sensitive to the sun rays and ultimately, age spots.
As we age, the many years of being in the sun, will add up and cause age spots. The pigment is deposited with response to injury from exposure to the sun. Bruising can also cause age spots when blood pigment is left behind. These spots are not painful and they do not itch, but they can give the skin an older appearance.
Lifestyle habits can also age our skin
Although the sun plays a major role in aging our skin, there are also other things that we do that can also age our skin. Getting a little sun may help our skin to glow and look much better, but over time getting too much can leave it looking much older. Here are different ways dermatologists suggest to prevent premature aging skin. If you already have signs of premature skin aging, you can benefit from making some lifestyle changes for greater success.
Sun protection is essential to protect your skin from the sun every day. If you are outside, stay in the shade, use a broad-spectrum, SPF 30 or higher and water-resistant. Apply sunscreen every time that you are outside in the sun to all skin areas that are not covered with clothing. Apply a self-tanner rather than getting a tan. Stop smoking as this makes your skin age much faster, causes wrinkles and a dull complexion.
Watch your facial expressions because when you make a facial expression, you contract the underlying muscles, and if you repeatedly continue to contract the same muscles for many years, these lines can become permanent. If you wear sunglasses it can help reduce the lines caused when you squint.
Research suggests that eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage with premature aging and a diet with lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates can speed up aging. Alcohol dehydrates the skin and will make you look older, so drink less alcohol or if you have to drink, do so in moderation. Moderate exercise can improve circulation and boost your immune system and will make your skin looks younger.
Scrubbing your skin can irritate it which will speed up skin aging. Gentle cleansing will help to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating your skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating as perspiration will irritate the skin. Use a moisturizer daily because it will trap water in your skin and gives it a younger look. Don’t use skin care products that will sting or burn you. This shows that your skin is irritated and this will make it look older. If these are prescribed by a dermatologist, let them know, even though some anti-aging prescriptions will burn or sting.
Age spots treatment
There are a number of available treatments for age spots. They are mainly divided into 2 types. These are medication and medical procedures.
Prescription medications: Medications include applying items to the skin or taking it orally or by mouth. Natural remedies also fall under this section. For skin care products, there are different compounds like bleaching creams (hydroquinone) alone or combined with retinoids (tretinoin) and a mild steroid. There is also a wide spectrum of sunscreen with a protection factor (SPF) rating of 30 or higher. This treatment may cause redness, burning or dryness. Follow the label or speak to your pharmacist. If you prefer natural remedies, they are in general, more compatible to us. There are a number of natural remedies available. Here are some really effective ones.
Lemon juice: Apply lemon juice on the spot and wait 30 minutes and then continue regularly as needed. Apple cider vinegar: Mix olive oil with apple cider vinegar and apply on the spot area. Wait for 20 minutes and repeat as needed. Onion juice: Pick up some onion slices and rub on the spot area 2-3 times a day.
Medical procedures: Laser and intense pulsed lights effectively destroy melanin-producing cells without damaging the skin surface. After treatment, the spots will take several weeks or months to disappear. The treatment may cause slight discoloration on the skin. Sun protection is a must after laser treatment.
Cryosurgery: This method involves applying liquid nitrogen or other freezing agents to the spots that effectively destroys the extra pigment of the skin. As the area heals, the skin appears lighter. Freezing may be performed on the specific spot or more. Cryosurgery may irritate the skin temporarily and may cause permanent scarring or discoloring (rarely).
Chemical peeling: This method involves applying an acid that burns the outer layer of the skin. As the skin heals, new skin takes its place. Sun protection is strongly advised. This process may cause permanent skin color change (Rarely).
Microdermabrasion: This effectively removes the skin surface and new cells grow in its place. There’s a chance of having a temporary scab formation or redness. Microdermabrasion is a less aggressive approach. It leaves mild skin blemishes. To get the full effect, it requires months of application. If your skin has rosacea or tiny red veins, this method may make the condition worse.
Preventing age spots
While preventing age spots isn’t possible, you can try to keep them under control. For example, avoid the sun when the rays are most intense. Use sunscreen regularly. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Don’t forget to reapply every 2-3 hours or more often if you are perspiring or swimming. Use protective clothing like pants, hats, and long-sleeved shirts. These can protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
The natural aging process is the main culprit behind the noticeable age spots. Most age spots will fade over time but may not disappear. By limiting your sun exposure, you can decrease your chances of age spots. You can diagnose age spots by their color and appearance, but sometimes, what looks like an age spot could be skin cancer, so you should see a certified dermatologist for a skin exam before treating age spots. I hope that this article is helpful to help control your age spots and you will have glowing, and gorgeous looking skin at any age. Happy aging!
Delores Powell: My passion is all about Health and Wellness, Success, and to help others succeed as well. Believe in yourself and you will achieve.