Age Spots are flat, brown, black or yellow spots that appear mainly on the neck, hands and face. They vary in size and start to appear once people hit 40, but, younger people can get them too, especially if they spend a lot of time in the sun.
The condition refers to changes in skin colour due to ageing, exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet light, or causes that are not known. Age Spots are also called Liver Spots (even though have nothing to do with the liver function), Solar Lentigines and Lentigo Senilis.
Treatment of Age Spots
Preventing Age Spots by avoiding the sun and using sunscreen is the best way to maintain your skin young and fresh. Unless you wear a broad spectrum sunscreen every day, rain or shine, you’ll be looking at new age spots no matter how often you visit the dermatologist. In addition to wearing sunscreen, you can prevent sun damage to your skin by wearing protective clothing such as light, long-sleeved tops and sun-hats.
Although Age Spots can look like cancerous growths, they are harmless and need no treatment. However, despite being a benign condition, Age Spots are sometimes considered unsightly and some people choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons.
The most effective treatments to remove Age Spots are:
- Laser technology: is the most reliable and effective method to remove Age Spots. An intense laser light penetrates the epidermis and causes the skin to rejuvenate. The intensity of the light scatters the skin pigments and destroys the discoloration. The treatment is not painful and requires no down time, but the pigmentation will look darker for aproximatley 10 days. Redness and sensitivity to sunlight can occur.
- Bleaching lotions: Hydroquinone is a very effective bleaching cream which can reduce the appearance of age spots. It can cause blisters or skin reactions in some people and in some cases could have potential carcinogenic properties.
- Glycolic acid: an alpha hydroxyl acid that can be found in creams and lotions. It can be harsh on the skin and produce redness and discomfort
- Microdermabrasion: a non-invasive skin treatment that uses a wand with air pressure. The wand blasts crystals, zinc or other abrasive materials directly against the skin, exfoliating the top layers to remove the dark, hyper pigmented skin. The treatment has no side effects and requires no down time.
- Chemical peel: by dissolving dead skin so new radiant skin can surface. The area to be treated is thoroughly cleansed and a gel-like acidic substance is applied. The treatment includes redness, peeling and sensitivity for which a down time is required.