If you’re over the age of forty, you may have started to notice areas of skin which look a little different from the others. They appear darker and tend to show up on the arms, face, and other areas exposed to the light. Luckily, there are some treatment options for age spots on skin including broadband light therapy, chemical peels, cryosurgery, dermabrasion, and some at-home treatments. Before we get into what exactly these treatments are, let’s discuss how age spots on skin appear.
What Causes Age Spots on Skin?
Doctors and other medical researchers still don’t know exactly why age spots develop, but they are primarily caused by the body’s response to UV light. Ultraviolet light from the sun hits the skin, damages the skin cells, and provokes them to produce melanin to protect themselves.
Sometimes, though, the rate of melanin production can get out of control, leading to age spots which become more visible and darken over time.
Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. As the skin ages, however, it becomes less able to tell whether it needs to produce this pigment or not.
The reason researchers think that age spots are related to sun damage is that they tend to develop in the most exposed areas of skin.
You can commonly find age spots in the following areas:
- The forearms
- The sides of the face
- The neck
- The upper back
- The shoulders
Many women, in particular, tend to develop age spots on the shoulders, chest, and top of the back after wearing dresses which expose these areas.
Treatment Options For Age Spots
There are a variety of treatments for age spots. Take a look at the following:
1. At-Home Treatments
Many companies market over-the-counter home treatments for age spots. These treatments include chemicals like vitamin-c, glycolic acid, and alpha-hydroxy acid, which manufacturers claim help to reduce skin pigmentation.
Over-the-counter remedies, however, are not as powerful as prescription creams. Also, beware that many of these creams are purely cosmetic: they do nothing to remedy age spots. Their primary purpose is to conceal them.
Something that you should do whether you have age spots or not is wear sunscreen every day, this will help prevent age spots from appearing or slow progression. SPF 40+ is ideal.
2. Broadband Light Therapy
One of the most promising methods for treating age spots is the use of intense pulsed light. The idea here is to pulse light into the skin to break up the melanin that’s built up and then let the body remove it naturally.
3. Chemical Peels
A chemical peel applies a layer of acid to the surface of the skin to remove the top layer of skin cells and reveal new cells beneath. Chemical peels often stimulate the skin to remove age spots and return to a healthy, consistent color.
As the name implies, cryosurgery involves the application of extreme cold to age spots. Surgeons use liquid nitrogen to chill age spots so that they fall off.
Finally, dermabrasion is a technique that uses a roller with tiny needles or crystals to penetrate the top layer of skin and encourage it to form new, healthy cells beneath — clearing away the age spots in the process.