The most frequent place age spots occur is in the skin with the greatest exposure to the sun. Generally, they appear on the age spots are harmless, but they can show up in unappealing places on your face or hands. Here are a few key things about age spots including the signs and symptoms, prevention, treatment, and remedies.
What Are Age Spots?
Age spots, or solar lentigines, is an increase of melanin in your skin. Melanin is a natural part of your body and is the pigment that gives your skin its color.
ace, neck, hands, arms, shoulders, and upper back. Typically they are flat and darker than the surrounding skin. They can be tan, brown, or black. Sometimes they are small enough that they resemble freckles.
The size of age spots can vary. They can be as large as three centimeters (a bit more than an inch), or as small as 1 millimeter (about the width of the sharp end of a pencil). Typically age spots group together, which makes them potentially look larger or more prominent.
What Causes Age Spots?
When you expose your skin to direct sunlight, the body produces extra melanin to protect itself from ultraviolet (UV) rays. This can be seen when you tan and your skin tone becomes darker. Age spots appear when your body produces excess melanin, and then that melanin in the skin clumps together.
Direct exposure to UV rays is the main cause of increased melanin production, and just getting older can also speed it up. This is why age spots generally start appearing in people beginning around 40 years old.
How Can I Prevent Age Spots?
Reducing your exposure to direct sunlight is the best thing you can do to prevent age spots. Some advise that you avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are most intense. That means scheduling outdoor activities either before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
If you are going to be in the sun, wearing sunscreen will help prevent damage to your skin. Sunscreen helps protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. A low SPF sunscreen of 15 is enough to help protect you against damaging your skin. If you are planning an outdoor activity, make sure to apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you start, and reapply every two hours.
Protecting your skin from the sun is the most helpful thing you can do. Wearing pants or a full-length dress, as well as long sleeves, will help protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. If you want to wear a hat, consider wearing a broad-brimmed hat rather than a baseball cap or visor that will better protect your ears and neck from the sun.
What Is the Treatment for Age Spots?
Age spots are of no threat to your health, but they can be a cosmetic concern. There are a few options when trying to reduce the appearance of an age spot.
Prescription bleaching creams (hydroquinone) used alone or with retinoids (tretinoin) and a mild steroid can help lighten the appearance of an age spot over the course of a few months. When you use this option you might experience reddening, burning, dryness, or itching. It is strongly recommended to wear a natural sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to help fight against those side effects and to protect the skin from any further damage.
Laser therapy can also be an option for reducing age spots. Laser therapy destroys melanocytes, pigment-producing cells, without damaging the skin’s surface. Multiple sessions are required for the best results, and you can see fading as soon as a few weeks, or as long as a few months.
Liquid nitrogen or another freezing agent can also be used to destroy excessive pigment to reduce the appearance of age spots. Cryotherapy is usually used on a single large age spot or a smaller grouping of spots.
What Are Home Remedies for Age Spots?
Research shows that applying aloe vera extract, orchid extract, mulberry extract, licorice extract, and vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of age spots. Trusted Health Products Earth and Elm Nourishing Body Oil can also lighten and remove the appearance of age spots. As a part of any of these home remedies, adequate sun protection is a must for a good outcome.