When people are aging they might notice splotches on the face, arms and hands. Whether you call them age spots, sun spots or liver spots these un-raised spots of increased pigmentation are a sign of aged/damaged skin. The sun causes this damage along with wrinkles and rough texture, these spots can appear brown, black or grey and will appear in the places that are most exposed to the sun. These range in size from small freckles to bigger circles.
Age spots are not dangerous to humans, but they are not a very attractive to look at. If you look after your skin then they shouldn’t appear in the first place, but if they have already appeared for you then there are a few different treatments to decrease their appearance.
This was mentioned earlier, age spots are harmless blotches can appear from too much sun exposure. These are related to moles, which is also a side effect from the sun. Moles are raised spots ranging in colour from black, to brown, to white. However unlike age spots, moles will appear anywhere on the skin.
Also, unlike harmless age spots, some moles are cancerous and a sign of malignant melanoma. Since early detection of skin cancer is so important, have your dermatologist examine any new age spots or moles as soon as possible, especially if they change colour, shape or size.
How they are formed
These spots will appear after too much sun exposure, age, skin colour and genetics. When the skin absorbs too much sun, it will produce extra melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour and produces tans to protect its self. After a while melanin clumps up and forms age spots. These spots usually appear on people that are older and mostly common in the age group over 50.
This occurs in the older generation more as they have had a longer time exposed to the sun and the fact that some people naturally produce more melanin as they age.
Methods of prevention
The absolute best way to avoid age spots from sun damage is to avoid the sun and sun protection. Staying away from the sun between 10am – 4pm when the sun rays are at their strongest. Wear items of clothing that cover most of the vulnerable spots. Sun block is a better way for this protection as you won’t have to cover your body with clothes that will make you all hot and sweaty. Apply sun block 15 minutes before coming in contact with the sun, because sun block takes time to be absorbed by the skin. Best option is too choose a sun block that is 15 SPF or above, and has protection from different types of damage caused (UVA and UVB rays). Also since a lot of most people’s time is spent within cars you should have some sort of protection. You can install protective foil within the car that protects against sun-rays.
How to cure
The appearance of age spots can be prevented in a few different ways, but keep in mind that after the treatments that it will cause increase sun sensitivity. You will need to swap your normal sun block to a higher SPF one.
- Lasers – Laser treatment works by destroying any extra melanin within the age spots gradually from a few weeks to a few months. The majority of people find this a non-painful procedure, but everyone has different pain thresh holds, so it might not be for you.
- Freezing – This is another effective procedure that can be used for skin tag removals; the method is done by freezing the area and destroying any extra developed pigment.