Age Spots Treatment Overview
Age spots — also known as brown spots, liver spots, dark spots, or sun spots — are patches of hyperpigmented skin that can show up on your face, neck, décolletage, and hands.
Age Spot Causes
Generally, age spots are caued by sun exposure, which increases melanin production and encourages the formation of uneven pigmentation on exposed areas of the skin.
Increased deposition of melanin can be stimulated by UV light from the sun, or artificially, from tanning salons. So, if you're a sun worshipper or don't protect your skin from UV rays, age spots are probably in your future.
Age Spot Removal
Because age spots are superficial pigmentation blemishes on the skin, the best way to remove them is typically by removing the upper layers of the skin. This can be accomplished with a variety of procedures, including:
- Laser peels - Resurfacing the skin with a laser helps remove age spots on the skin's upper layers; may include treatment with Fraxel laser, ruby, Nd:yag or alexandrite lasers
- IPL or Photofacial - Light-based treatments such as Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, also known as Photofacial treatment are designed to target and reduce red and brown pigment in the skin
- Chemical peels - Like laser peels, chemical peels can also remove the skin's upper layers to help fade age spots; may include treatment with a TCA peel
Age Spot Cream
- Retin A - Topical retinoid (derived from Vitamin A) that exfoliates and disperses melanin granules to diminish brown spots
- Hydroquinone - Skin lightening agent found in products known to fade age spots, such as TriLuma, and Murad Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Gel
- Kojic acid - Ingredient found in many skin lightening products; derived from a variety of different fungi and organic substances (such as soy and mushrooms)
- Vitamin C - Specifically, L-ascorbic acid, the most active form of Vitamin C, is known for its ability to diminish brown spots; found in products by Cellex-C, BioMedic, and Obagi.
Preventing Age Spots
Since UV light will stimulate pigment cells to produce increased melanin in a patchy fashion, it is wise to use prevention as an important component of age spot treatment.
- Use a well-tolerated sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB and is compatible with your skin type and lifestyle
- Avoid direct sun exposure
- Avoid tanning salons
- Treat existing spots with exfoliation, retinoids, and skin lighteners, such as kojic acid and hydroquinone
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