Sunscreen, which protects from both UVA and UBV rays, with a sun-protection factor of at least 15, should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, then be reapplied every 2 hours. It should be reapplied more often when swimming or perspiring. It should not contain potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens or petrochemicals.
Cover up. Use a broad-brimmed hat which provides more protection than a baseball cap or visor. Wear tightly woven clothing, covering the arms and legs. Clothing designed to provide sun protection is useful. An ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 40-50, in the clothing, is the best protection. The fabric can lose the protection by stretching, getting wet, or with repeated washing.
Although age spots are of no threat to health, they can be of cosmetic concern. There are treatments available to lighten or remove them. Pigmentation is in the deepest part of the epidermis, the top layer of skin. Any treatments meant to lighten the spots must penetrate to the deepest part of the epidermis. The treatments are seen as cosmetic, so usually insurance will not apply. Care should be taken to select a physician trained and experienced in the various treatments under consideration.
Medications. Prescription bleaching creams (hydroquinone) used alone or with retinoids (tretinoin) and a mild steroid may gradually lighten age spots over the course of months. Natural sunscreen with a SPF of 30 (without parabens) is strongly advised when medication treatment is used. It may result in reddening, burning, dryness or itching.
Laser therapy. Laser therapy destroys melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells, without damaging the skins surface. Multiple sessions are usually required. After treatment, the age spots fade gradually, over weeks or months. There are few side effects, but there may be slight discoloration of the skin.
Cryotherapy(freezing). Liquid nitrogen or another freezing agent is used to destroy excessive pigment. Its usually used on a single age spot or small groupings of spots. It can irritate the skin and there is a slight risk of permanent scarring or discoloration.
Dermabrasion. This treatment consists of planing the surface of the skin using a rapidly rotating brush; new skin replaces the old. There may be temporary redness and scab formation.
Chemical peel. This treatment method involves applying acid to the skin, burning the outer layer of the skin. As the skin peels, new skin forms. Usually several treatments are needed to see any results. Sun protection is strongly advised after treatment with chemical peels. There is temporary irritation and there is a slight risk of discoloration.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Fading creams and lotions are available over the counter at department and drug stores, as well as on the internet. They may improve the appearance of the age spots over the course of months. Results depend somewhat on how darkly pigmented the age spots are and how often the cream or lotion is applied. The product used should contain hydroquinone, deoxyarbutin, glycolic acid or kojic acid, which may cause skin irritation.
An ingredient to be avoided in over-the-counter skin lighteners is mercury. It has been banned in skin lightening products manufactured in Europe and Africa, but is still used in 1 out of 4 products manufactured in Asia and sold in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns consumers to avoid mercury because it causes kidney damage and lowers the skins ability to avoid bacterial and fungal infections.
Mercury ingestion or absorption through the skin can also cause anxiety, depression and even psychosis. It can also cause peripheral neuropathy damage to nerves, usually in the hands and feet. It changes sensation and may cause stinging and burning pain, markedly lowering quality of life. It responds poorly to treatment.
More Facts About Preventing Age Spots
There are no oral medications for preventing or fading age spots. All treatments are topical, on the surface of the skin. Oral contraceptives have no effect on age spots. They can cause melasma, a hyperpigmentation of areas on the face, which can be mistaken for age spots.
After lesions are removed or faded by the various treatments, the same spots will not regrow. There remains, however, the damaged skin changes from years ago that led to the formation of the age spots which were treated. New age spots can occur. New lesions should be examined by a physician before starting treatment.
There is no association between antibiotics and age spots, neither causing nor curing the spots. Smoking affects every cell in the body in negative ways. It damages the bodys ability to self-repair damaged cells. It can cause delay in the bodys healing with new skin after treatments which work to improve the appearance by removing the outermost layers of the epidermis.
It can take months to see any improvement when using home remedies. The result may never be as significant as the treatments your physician can prescribe or perform. Damage can occur at any age, and sun exposure continues to increase your risk of forming new age spots and other skin problems, including the risk of skin cancers.
There is nothing to do or use that can lessen skin damage while continuing exposure to the light bulbs in tanning beds. Sun exposure is a good source of vitamin D, but do it in moderation and dont burn yourself.
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