Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fade those darn age spots!

Age spots — also called liver spots and solar lentigines — are flat tan, brown or black spots on your skin. They vary in size and usually appear on the face, hands, shoulders and arms. Age spots - hyperpigmentation, technically know as solar lentigines  -  are caused primarily by years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. The use of commercial tanning lamps and tanning beds can also contribute to the development of age spots. The pigment in the upper layer of skin (epidermis) that gives your skin its normal color is called melanin. UV light accelerates the production of melanin, creating a tan that helps protect deeper layers of skin from UV rays.

True age spots are harmless, however, if you are unsure about a spot on your skin, have it checked by your doctor. In the meantime, if you want to fade these spots, there are products that will help. Just be sure you have patience. You didn't develop these spots overnight (although it may seem so) and even a good fade cream will take 4-6 weeks to be effective.

Many fade creams and lotions for lightening age spots are available. These may improve the appearance of age spots, depending on how dark the spots are and how often you apply the cream.
Choose a fade cream that contains hydroquinone, glycolic acid or kojic acid. Those that contain hydroquinone, may cause skin irritation.

You may also speak with your doctor about prescription products.  Prescription bleaching creams (hydroquinone) used alone or with retinoids (tretinoin) and a mild steroid may gradually fade the spots over several months. Use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 is strongly advised if you use medication treatments. The treatments may result in temporary itching, redness, burning or dryness.

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