Several solutions to get rid of age-related skin spots
Age spots are a common skin problem that many people complain about. Fortunately, we live in an era where there are various methods available to prevent this issue or slow down its progression. In the following, read more about age spots and ways to prevent them from worsening.
What are age spots?
Age spots, also known as solar lentigines or sunspots, are a common skin issue that many people experience as they age. You may have looked at yourself in the mirror or noticed spots on your hands that weren't there before. Changes in skin color and the development of spots on the skin can be experienced by all of us for various reasons, and aging is one of the main factors.
If you feel that your skin is developing age spots, there are multiple solutions available to prevent them. Most of these solutions have a preventive aspect to avoid worsening the situation.
Age spots, also known as solar lentigines or sun lentigines, are pigmented spots that are usually caused by the exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. UV radiation stimulates the production of melanin, the pigment-producing cells in the skin, resulting in the appearance of unwanted brown spots.
If you have a family history of age spots, you are more susceptible to developing them when exposed to sunlight (or tanning beds). These spots typically appear as flat, brown patches on sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, and back. However, they can also appear as seborrheic keratosis, which are wart-like growths.
The primary cause of these spots is sun exposure, but why are they called age spots?
From the age of 40, the skin becomes less capable of repairing itself after exposure to sunlight, and age spots become very common in this age group, especially in individuals who spend more time under the sun.
Prevention is the most important step for age spots.
Dermatologists recommend strengthening skin protection against the sun to prevent this problem. Although age spots are usually not a significant concern, preventing sun damage is crucial not only for cosmetic purposes but also for protection against skin cancer. Safe sun protection habits, such as regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, avoiding sunlight during peak hours (from 12 PM to 5 PM), and covering the body with clothing and a hat as much as possible, are among the essential habits that should never be forgotten.
Causes of age-related skin spots:
Age spots are formed due to excessive activity of pigment-producing cells. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation accelerates the production of melanin, a natural pigment that gives color to the skin. Age spots appear on the skin that has been exposed to sunlight for years when melanin accumulates or is produced in high concentrations.
The use of tanning lamps and commercial tanning beds can also contribute to the development of age spots.
If you are in the following conditions, the likelihood of developing these spots on your skin is higher:
- Having fair skin.
- Having a history of frequent or severe sun exposure or sunburn.
An effective solution for age-related skin spots:
If you gradually notice signs of these skin spots on your face and hands, or even if you haven't seen any signs yet but would like to proactively address the damage, don't forget these effective methods and solutions. Some of them are non-prescription and can be incorporated into your daily routine, while others may require supervision by a specialized physician.
1.Use sunscreen to prevent age-related skin spots:
The best readily available option that you can use without a doctor's prescription and is highly recommended for your current concern and future prevention is the use of sunscreen. This product not only prevents existing spots from darkening but also helps prevent the formation of new spots.
Experts recommend using sunscreens with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30. There are various sunscreen products available in the market, ranging from tinted and non-tinted creams to gels and fluids. Try different formulations to see which one suits your skin better.
2.Non-prescription Brightening Serums and Creams:
There is a range of products available in the market, including various non-prescription brightening serums and creams. These brightening creams can reduce age-related skin spots by suppressing melanin production. However, keep in mind that these products are suitable for spots that you have identified early and are still relatively light.
If you choose to use this method, the active ingredients to look for are hydroquinone, glycolic acid, kojic acid, licorice root extract, and niacinamide. Hydroquinone is considered the gold standard in brightening products, but it is known to be harsh on the skin and may cause side effects such as skin irritation and pigment alterations with long-term use.
Apart from creams, various skin serums are also produced to address multiple skin concerns and essential skincare needs. If you are struggling with age-related skin spots, you can incorporate a vitamin C serum into your skincare routine. Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it helps protect the skin against damage caused by sun radiation, prevents the formation of dark spots, and overall has brightening effects.
3.Prescription-only Brightening Creams:
In addition to the products available over-the-counter at pharmacies and cosmetic stores, there is a category of medicinal products and creams that are only available with a doctor's prescription.
Prescription topical medications can work gradually to lighten age spots (typically taking several weeks to months). Two common drugs for this issue are hydroquinone and tretinoin. Hydroquinone works by reducing melanin production, while tretinoin is a type of retinol cream that can improve skin texture and reduce pigmentation. The side effects of these medications are usually minimal, but they may include itching, redness, or dryness.
In this method performed at the clinic, liquid nitrogen (a freezing agent) is applied to age spots. This freezes and destroys the pigment-producing cells, causing the spots to crust and eventually fade over time as the skin heals and rejuvenates. This treatment is most effective for individual spots or small clusters, and it can be repeated several times a month if necessary.
It's important to note that this procedure should be carried out in medical clinics under the supervision of a dermatology specialist. Beauty clinics that operate without the presence of a dermatology specialist or lack the necessary licenses are not suitable for performing such skin treatments.
Depending on the depth of the peel performed on the skin, this treatment can be beneficial in reducing the appearance of age-related skin discoloration. In this method, a dermatology specialist applies an acid solution to the targeted area. The acid removes the outer layer of your skin where the pigmentation spots are visible. As this layer sheds, a new layer replaces it. The number of sessions required varies based on the severity of the age spots and the type of chemical peel used. Side effects can range from no discomfort to a few days of skin peeling/dryness.
6.Laser Treatment for Age-related Skin Discoloration:
Depending on your skin color, undertone, and the location of age-related skin discoloration, there are various types of laser treatments available that can help you get rid of these spots. Laser treatment is one of the highly recommended methods by dermatology specialists for eliminating age spots, and they often prefer this approach. Due to its faster recovery time and longer-lasting results, this method has an advantage over many other treatments.
Laser is a highly effective treatment for age-related discoloration as advanced lasers utilize ultra-short picosecond pulses to break down skin pigment particles.
Fractional laser treatments are also an excellent option for age-related spots. This technique uses fractional lasers (focused beams of light that are divided into multiple points) to deliver heat to the skin. It vaporizes the pigment cells while encouraging collagen remodeling in the deeper layers of the skin, resulting in not only reducing age spots but also tightening and smoothing the skin.
Age-related skin discoloration is a common issue that we experience as we get older. Fortunately, these spots can be prevented and treated. The best prevention method is to use sunscreen and keep the skin protected from excessive and direct sun exposure by using creams or suitable coverage, such as a brimmed hat. If you notice these spots, you can eliminate them with the help of a dermatology specialist using methods like laser treatment and IPL.