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What Causes Age Spots And How To Get Rid Of Them

What Causes Age Spots And How To Get Rid Of Them

How To Reduce The Appearance Of Age Spots On Your Skin

Age spots, liver spots, or solar lentigines are common skin blemishes that develop due to aging, sun exposure, and genetics. They typically appear as small, dark spots on the face, hands, and other areas frequently exposed to the sun.

Almost everyone experiences age spots at some point, and while they are not harmful, they can be unsightly and make you feel self-conscious. However, you can reduce or eliminate their appearance with proper treatment.

In this article, you will explore the causes of age spots, the best treatment options available, and preventative measures you can take to avoid them.

In This Article

Key Takeaways

  • Age spots are caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color.
  • Age spots are common skin blemishes that develop due to aging, sun exposure, and genetics.
  • Over-the-counter creams containing active ingredients such as deoxyarbutin, glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, or kojic acid may help to reduce excess skin pigmentation.
  • Clinical treatments for age spots include topical creams, cryotherapy, chemical peels, and laser therapy.
  • All of these treatments come with potential risks and side effects and should only be performed by a qualified medical professional.
  • It’s important to use sun protection and avoid further sun damage to prevent the formation of new age spots.

Causes Of Age Spots

Age spots are caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives our skin its color. When our skin is exposed to UV radiation, the production of melanin increases, resulting in darker spots on the skin.

In addition to sun exposure, age spots can also be caused by:

Genetics

Age spots are caused by an overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives color to our skin, and genetics can influence how much melanin our skin produces. For example, people with lighter skin tones are generally more prone to age spots because they have less natural protection against UV damage. Additionally, certain genetic mutations have been linked to an increased risk of age spots, such as mutations in the MC1R gene.

Age

Our skin undergoes a variety of changes as we age, including a decrease in the production of collagen and elastin, which can lead to thinning and sagging. The skin also becomes less able to repair itself after damage, including damage caused by UV radiation from the sun. This can make us more susceptible to age spots, as well as other types of sun damage such as wrinkles and skin cancer.

Hormones

Changes in hormone levels can affect the production of melanin, which can lead to age spots. For example, during pregnancy, women experience an increase in hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which can cause a condition known as melasma. Melasma is characterized by dark patches on the skin, often on the face, and is thought to be caused by an increase in melanin production. Hormonal changes during menopause can also lead to changes in the skin, including an increased risk of age spots.

Over The Counter Treatments

You can easily find over-the-counter (OTC) skin products marketed as age spot treatments. Although these creams might not be as potent as prescription creams, they may help to reduce excess skin pigmentation. While it’s fine to try them out before seeking professional treatment, keep in mind that they may not be as effective as clinical treatment.

When selecting an OTC cream, opt for one that includes deoxyarbutin, glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, or kojic acid. While cosmetics cannot remove age spots, they can help conceal them. Consult with a dermatologist, or aplastic surgeon to learn about brands and products that effectively mask age spots.

Treatment Options For Age Spots

There are several treatment options available for age spots, including:

Topical Creams

Topical creams are a non-invasive treatment option for age spots. They work by gradually reducing the appearance of age spots over time through the use of active ingredients such as hydroquinone, retinoids, and vitamin C. Hydroquinone is a skin lightening agent that inhibits the production of melanin, while retinoids and vitamin C can help to promote cell turnover and exfoliation, revealing brighter, more even-toned skin. These creams are typically applied daily and can take several weeks or months to show results.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze the age spots, causing them to blister and peel off. This treatment is typically done in a dermatologist’s office and may require multiple sessions. While cryotherapy is generally safe, there is a risk of scarring or discoloration, particularly in individuals with darker skin tones.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the outer layer to peel off, revealing new, unblemished skin underneath. There are several different types of chemical peels, ranging from mild to more intense. Superficial peels, which use alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), are often used to treat age spots.

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These peels are typically done in a dermatologist’s office and can take several days to a week to fully heal. While chemical peels are generally safe, there is a risk of scarring or discoloration, particularly in individuals with darker skin tones.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy involves using a laser to destroy the cells that produce melanin, resulting in skin lightening. This treatment is typically done in a dermatologist’s office and may require multiple sessions. While laser therapy is generally safe, there is a risk of scarring or discoloration, particularly in individuals with darker skin tones.

It’s important to note that all of these treatments come with potential risks and side effects, and should only be performed by a qualified medical professional. It’s also important to use sun protection and avoid further sun damage to prevent the formation of new age spots.

Preventative Measures

While age spots are a natural part of the aging process, there are several preventative measures you can take to avoid them, including:

  • Wearing Sunscreen: Protecting your skin from UV radiation is the most effective way to prevent age spots. We recommend using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Wearing Protective Clothing: Hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants can also help to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Avoiding Tanning Beds: Tanning beds emit UV radiation, damaging your skin and increasing your risk of developing age spots.
  • Eating a Healthy Diet: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help to nourish your skin and protect it from damage.

Skin Discoloration Or Liver Spots Explained – Dr Stacy

Courtesy of Expert: Stacy Mobley

Conclusion

Age spots are a common skin blemish caused by aging, sun exposure, and genetics. While they are not harmful, they can be unsightly and affect self-confidence. Over-the-counter creams and cosmetic products can help conceal them, but for more effective treatment, topical creams, cryotherapy, chemical peels, and laser therapy are available.

However, these treatments come with potential risks and side effects and should only be performed by qualified medical professionals. It’s also essential to use sun protection and avoid further sun damage to prevent the formation of new age spots.

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