Age spots are caused by excessive pigmentation of the skin.
The exact reason for the increased production of skin pigment is not known. Some of the possible causes of age spots include aging of skin, sun damage, and UV exposure in tanning beds.
Age spots are most commonly seen in places that have maximum exposure to sun like the face, neck, upper back, and forearms.
Theory states that UV exposure increases the production of melanin, the skin pigment, which gives a darker color to the skin.
Age spots are found in all age groups in both genders. Certain factors like age, fair skin, history of sun exposure, and frequent use of tanning beds increase the risk of developing age spots.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Diagnosis of age spots is based on symptoms.
A physical examination of the skin helps to identify increased pigmentation on skin. A skin biopsy is suggested to rule out chances of other skin conditions.
Some other conditions that have symptoms similar to that of age spots include moles, seborrheic keratosis, and lentigo maligna.
Treatment is not always necessary for age spots.
They are harmless and do not cause any other complications. Most treatments help to lighten the upper most layer of skin to improve appearance.
Some of the common treatment methods used include:
Medications – bleaching creams are used to lighten skin in the damaged area. This can be used alone or in combination with retinoids or a mild steroid. Sunscreen with SPF 30 is also recommended to protect the skin from sun damage.
Light therapy – laser helps to destroy the pigment-producing cells of the skin. This procedure does not cause damage to the skin cells. Intense light pulses are also used to reduce the skin color. Age spots fade gradually with these procedures.
Cryotherapy – freezing agents are used to reduce the spots. With healing of the skin, new cells appear that are lighter.
Dermabrasion – a brush is used to remove the upper layer of cells. New skin cells that are lighter in color form in that area.
Chemical peel – with this procedure, acid is used to burn the upper layer of cells. This helps to peel the skin, triggering the formation of a new layer.
Most of these methods have side effects. With any of these procedures, sun protection is very important.
Age spots can be prevented by:
Avoiding exposure to the sun when it is most intense
Wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 15 every day. Make sure that it has both UVA and UVB protection
Applying sunscreen half an hour before exposure to sun
Wearing sun protective clothing like hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants
7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies
Many alternative and homeopathic remedies are used to get rid of age spots.
This includes lemon juice, aloe vera juice, castor oil, olive oil, butter milk, dandelion, rosemary oil, rose water and sandal powder.
8 Lifestyle and Coping
There are different ways to adapt your lifestyle in coping with age spots.
Always make sure to keep the age spots covered to prevent further darkening.
Additionally, keep other areas of the body covered to prevent more spots from developing.
9 Risks and Complications
There are several risks and complications of age spots.
Age spots are harmless skin blemishes that develop due to sun exposure.
Age spots cause emotional distress in some people.
In some rare cases, age spots may develop into skin cancer.
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