Getting exposed to sunlight may lead to dark spots appearing on the face or on hands. Although not necessarily related to ageing as the name suggests as they can also appear on younger people, these spots are called age spots. They are also sometimes referred to as liver spots and more appropriately, sun spots. The spots are brown or black in color and they appear on areas of the skin that are exposed to sunlight.
Although they are harmless, many people feel uncomfortable when they have the spots due to the way they look. They find ways to remove them or reduce their appearance so that their skin can appear smooth and clear. One way of dealing with these dark spots is by using skin lightening products that are available on the market. This is good news for those who have them and wish to lessen their impact, since they do not need to live with them forever.
Although the spots are common on people with lighter skin complexion, even darker people get affected. The spots appear as flat oval areas where there is an increase in pigmentation. The commonly affected areas of the skin are the hands, face, upper back, shoulders and the top of feet. This is because they are the areas that are exposed to direct sunlight.
Causes of age spots
Despite being called age spots, the spots are caused by exposure to the ultraviolet rays from the sun for many years. The development of the spots can be accelerated by the use of tanning lamps and beds. This causes the skin to develop the dark spots in areas such as hands and face, since they are areas of the body often not covered.
The exposure to the sun causes melanin to be produced in high concentrations on one area of the skin. This results in the development of black and brown age spots. Age is also a contributing factor in the overproduction of melanin. That is why the spots are more common for older people than for younger people, although all are affected if they expose themselves to the sun for long periods of time. It is also considered by the medical profession that genetic make-up may also contribute to the development of the age spots.
Genetic makeup may also contribute to the development of the age spots.
Treatment of age spots
There are a number of options available in the treatment of black and brown age spots. Some of them involve freezing of the top layer of the skin while others make use the laser to get underneath the skin. There are also home remedies, which can be used to get rid of the dark spots. The reason the spots are easily removed is because they are on top layer of the skin. By getting rid of this layer, the skin below does not have the spots.
Some of the treatments are:
- Chemical peel
This requires the use of acid to remove the top layer of the skin which has the black and brown age spots. With the top layer gone, the newer layer left does not have the spots. This leaves one with a healthy skin which has no blemishes.
This consists of the removal of the top layer of the skin by the use of a rapidly rotating brush which uses the same technique as a sand paper. Eventually, one ends up having a skin with no age spots. The only problem is that the scrubbing effect may result to redness of the skin.
- Use of laser
This is the clearing of the black and brown age spots by destruction of pigment producing cells. For it to be effective one should undergo through a number of treatments and it may take a while for the spots to disappear.
In this method, the skin is frozen in liquid nitrogen so as to destroy melanin. This results to a lighter skin when it heals.
- Home based remedies
With the use of items such as lemons, honey and yogurt, a home remedy can be created, which can get rid of the black and brown age spots. One should be careful when using the ingredients and should make sure that they are mixed in the right quantities.
- Skin lightening creams
There are many skin lightening creams in the market that can be used to clear black and brown age spots. Some of them are made using hydroquinone as the main ingredient for bleaching the skin to get rid of the black and brown age spots. Due to the controversy surrounding whether hydroquinone is safe to use, more care should be taken when using skin lightening cream.
One of the best age spot removers is the Meladerm skin lightening cream. It is manufactured using natural ingredients that are not harmful to the skin. It does not contain hydroquinone and it is effective in removing age spots.
The best way to prevent the spots from appearing on your skin is to use sunscreen when going outside. This will prevent the skin from being damaged by the sun resulting to overproduction of melanin which causes skin to darken. The sunscreen used should be broad spectrum so that it can provide enough protection. It should therefore have a sunscreen protection of at least 15. The sunscreen should be applied generously and reapplied every two hours to maintain its effectiveness.
The other method of preventing the black and brown age spots from appearing is to avoid being in the sun when the sun is hot. This is between ten in the morning and four in the evening when the sun is hot and intense.
Covering the exposed areas is another way that can be used to prevent age spots. The face can be protected by using a hat which is broad-brimmed. The same protection should be provided to the legs and arms by wearing clothes that cover these areas.