Age spots can be a major beauty concern for many people as we start to get older. These small, dark patches that appear on the skin are a common sign of aging and can be difficult to get rid of.
In this article, we will explore what age spots are, their symptoms, who is at a higher risk of developing them, and most importantly, what treatments are out there to help you maintain clear, healthy and youthful skin.
What are age spots?
Age spots, also known as liver spots or solar lentigines, are flat, brown, or black spots that typically appear on areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. These spots are more common in adults over the age of 50, but they can develop at any age.
Symptoms of age spots?
Age spots are usually painless and harmless, but they can be cosmetically bothersome. They may vary in size and often have irregular shapes. These spots are more noticeable in people with fairer skin and may darken over time with continued unprotected sun exposure. It’s important that if you notice any sudden changes in the appearance of your skin spots, such as rapid growth, bleeding, or an irregular border, please consult a dermatologist as soon possible as these may be signs of something more sinister.
Who is at risk of age spots?
While age spots are a common part of the skin aging process, certain factors can increase your risk of developing them:
Sun Exposure: Prolonged and frequent exposure to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds is a primary cause of age spots. Protecting your skin from the sun is crucial in preventing their formation.
Age: As the name suggests, age spots become more common as you get older. The skin's ability to regenerate and repair itself diminishes with age.
Skin Type: People with fair skin are more susceptible to age spots due to lower melanin levels, which provide natural protection against UV damage.
Genetics: Your genetic makeup can also play a role in your susceptibility to age spots. If your family members have had them, you may be more prone to developing them too.
How are age spots treated?
The best treatment is prevention, and age spots can be prevented by using sunscreen with high SPF and covering up or seeking shade from the sun.
Age spots can be effectively treated through various methods, depending on your preferences and the severity of the spots. Here are some common treatment options:
Topical Retinoids: Vitamin A derivatives like Tretinoin can help to lighten age spots and improve overall skin texture. Studies have shown that Tretinoin blocks the formation of new melanin and can help decrease hyperpigmentation.
Hydroquinone: This skin-lightening agent is available in creams and gels and can reduce the appearance of age spots. It’s important to note that occasionally hydroquinone can cause depigmentation in a way that is undesirable, and can have a variety of accompanying side effects.
Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze skin cells in the upper layers of the skin and remove the age spots. A major benefit of this treatment is that it rarely scars, and aside from some mild stinging, doesn’t hurt at all.
Laser Therapy: Various laser treatments can target and break down the pigmentation in age spots. Typically, only 1-2 treatments are required to get results; however, laser therapy can result in temporary darkening of spots and crusting.
Chemical Peels: A chemical solution is applied to the skin to exfoliate and lighten age spots by removing the top layers of old skin.
Whilst these treatments are effective in treating existing age spots, they are unable to prevent the occurrence of future age spots.
Antioxidants: Supplements containing vitamins C and E can help protect your skin from further damage caused by UV rays.
Grapeseed Extract: Grapeseed extract is a botanical that is high in a group of plant chemicals called proanthocyanins. Several studies have shown that grapeseed can lift pigmentation and has been useful for treating other pigment issues like melasma, which are like age spots.
Vida Glow’s Radiance featuring clinically studied SkinAx2 contains grapeseed extract, vitamin C, zinc and other key actives involved in treating pigmentation. It brightens the skin and increases skin luminosity by 26% in 8 weeks.
So, while age spots are generally harmless, they can be a cosmetic concern for many of us. To prevent age spots, make sure you protect your skin from the sun and wear sunscreen daily, with regular reapplication. If you already have age spots, there are various treatment options available, including prescription medications, medical procedures, and supplements. Consult with a dermatologist to determine the best approach for your specific skin goals. Remember that maintaining healthy skin goes beyond treatment; it involves ongoing sun protection and proper skincare to keep your skin looking its best.