Age / Sun Spots
WHAT ARE AGE/SUN SPOTS?
Despite their name, age spots have nothing to do with how old you are, except that simply becoming older can cause the extra production of melanin. Known as lentigines on the medical circuit, the brownish spots can appear on your face and body, mainly due to overexposure to the sun as your body tries its darnedest to fend off UV rays that can damage your glowing skin. And, while the melanin pigment within your skin is responsible for absorbing sunlight, over time, repeat exposure to UV rays damages your skin and lowers your ability to produce melanin pigment. Combined with your skin’s waning ability to protect your body from the sun as you age, your chances of developing signs of sun damage eventually rise. This is why your once youthful look is suddenly blemished by dark age spots, sun spots and liver spots.
Your genetic makeup may also play a role in how susceptible you are to the development of age spots. On areas of the skin that have years of frequent and prolonged sun exposure, age spots appear when melanin becomes вЂњclumpedвЂќ or is produced in particularly high concentrations. Sun spots are similar to freckles, but sun spots aren’t likely fade in the winter. They are also formed after years of exposure to sun, while freckles can be present at birth or in early life and aren’t necessarily related to sun exposure.
Most often, a sun spot will be flat with smooth borders and evenly coloured. They are most commonly found in areas that receive the most sun: your face, neck, hands, arms and shoulders. Because they are due to chronic sun exposure, they are more commonly found in adults over 40 – but it is possible to see them in younger individuals as well. They are more common in those with fair complexions.
On their own, sun spots are not a reason for concern they are benign. But they do indicate sun damage to your skin, which is a known risk factor for the development of skin cancer.
Sunscreen and sun protection can prevent the development of solar lentigo but will not cure those already in place.
Other quick facts about age spots and freckles:
Age spots may start to appear at a very young age. After age 40, our skin is less able to regenerate from sun exposure and the age spots become more prominent.
Age spots most commonly occur in light-skinned people who have less melanin pigment that can protect the skin from sun exposure. Age spots are also commonly seen in those who have a genetic tendency to develop freckles.
Most age spots are benign, but if you notice any with abnormal changes in color or shape, you should see a dermatologist to determine if they are cancerous or not.
Excessive exposure of UVA and UVB light from tanning beds may also lead to age spots and dark spots.
Age Spots Removal Treatments
There are so many over-the-counter skin creams that promise to remove age spots, but many of them are actually ineffective. Age spot treatments with laser & pulsed light devices are generally considered to be more effective. Sun damaged skin may improve gradually over a period of a few years simply with daily sunscreens and lightening creams, but for those who wish for more rapid results, treatments with the laser will make drastic improvement within two weeks.
Lina’s recommended treatment:
A series of three to six laser skin treatments are recommended, depending on the depths/size of the spot(s).