Noticing mole-like spots or blemishes on your skin lately? Those are most likely what are termed age spots or sun spots.
What Are Age Spots?
Age spots were once thought of as a sign that a person has developed liver disease. What it actually is are spots that appear on skin as a result of long-term, unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays.
The good news is that age spots are located on the epidermis or the outer layer of the skin. There are several over-the-counter creams and natural remedies you can take to help improve the appearance of age spots and even vanish it altogether.
Ways To Reduce Age Spots
1. Treat with a Twofer. Topical over-the-counter creams and serums or plant-based extracts known to reduce or erase age spots are effective because of their ability to stop further production of melanin on skin.
Hydroquinone is currently considered the most effective ingredient to treat age spots. It is infused in artificially-prepared formulations. Hydroquinone has natural bleaching properties that help lighten age spots and stop melanin production at the same time. Recent reports, however, have revealed hydroquinone may cause cancer although evidence remains inconclusive.
Other ingredients to look for are kojic acid, tretinoin and retinol, licorice extract, and Vitamin C. Always select products that contain at least two of these ingredients. Religiously apply a broad spectrum sunscreen as well.
Natural remedies include papaya, lemon juice, and red currant extracts. Apply mashed fruits on skin and leave on for about 15 minutes.
2. Brighten All Over. For uneven toned skin, choose skin lightening and brightening creams and masks for application throughout the affected area of your skin. For best results, choose formulations that contain Vitamin C for that extra bleaching benefits and antioxidants to help your skin fight the damaging effects of free radicals.
3. Rub on Retinol. The wrinkle-fighting property of retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, has been established by several studies conducted over the years. More than just giving you unwrinkled skin, however, retinol also boosts skin cell repair and renewal. Retinol helps treat age spots by stopping melanin production.
Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen when using retinol. Retinol breaks down upon exposure to the sun.
4. Use a booster. Read the labels well and choose products for treating age spots that contain glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and alpha-hydroxyl acids (AHA). These ingredients gently lift old, damaged skin, making it easier for age spots treatments to penetrate deep into the skin. Simultaneously, it boosts the skin cell renewal process and aids in surfacing younger, more radiant skin.
Make it a point to keep exfoliating regularly. Exfoliating helps vanish age spots by scraping off old skin so that it can be replaced by new skin. Exfoliators that contain AHAs work best for sensitive skin. For full strength exfoliation, use products that contain Trichloroacetic Acid or TCAs. For best results, get a chemical peel or undergo laser therapy.
5. Don’t forget your neck, chest, and shoulders. Whatever product you are using to vanish age spots on your face will work just as well to vanish age spots on your neck, chest and shoulders.
Clinical Treatments For Age Spots
While topical application of creams and natural extracts to treat age spots and sun-damaged skin may be enough, pamper yourself more by availing of skin care treatments to eliminate those unsightly age spots sooner.
Chemical peels may be your first and cheapest option, though downtime may be longer as it takes time for chemicals to act on your skin and peel of old, damaged, and top layers of the skin to let new skin surface.
Another option is microdermabrasion which works by scraping off the top layer of the skin to stimulate skin cells to produce more collagen and let new, younger skin surface.
Laser treatments, on the other hand, directly target age spots to breakdown melanin which lightens up your skin. In addition, laser skin care technologies stimulate skin cell renewal and rejuvenation.
Manage your age spots. Don’t just sit and keep worrying about how they are ruining your otherwise radiant skin. Try not to let age spots appear on your skin at all. Always wear sunscreen, put on your sunglasses, and use clothing and other accessories to shield your skin from the sun.