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What Are Age Spots?

Image of Age Spots to support the text
Age Spots are not Dangerous or Cancer.

What Are Age Spots? They are small, flat dark areas on the skin. They vary in size and usually appear on areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders and arms. Also called sunspots, liver spots and solar lentigines. These are prevalent in adults older than 50, but younger people can get them if they spend time in the sun.

Sunspots can look like cancerous growths. True liver spots don’t need treatment, but they signify the skin has received a lot of sun exposure and are an attempt by your skin to protect itself from more sun damage. For cosmetic reasons, they can be lightened or removed.

Symptoms.

What Are Age Spots? Consequently, they may affect people of all skin types, but they’re more common in adults with light skin. Unlike freckles, which are common in children and fade with no sun exposure, liver spots don’t fade.

Age spots are flat, oval areas of increased pigmentation. They are usually tan to dark brown. Occur on skin with the most sun exposure over the years, such as the backs of hands, tops of feet, face, shoulders and upper back. Range from freckle size to about 1/2 inch (13 millimetres) across. Can group, making them more noticeable.

Causes.

What Are Age Spots? Age spots are caused by overactive pigment cells. Ultraviolet (UV) light speeds up melanin production, a natural pigment that gives skin its colour. Age spots appear on the skin with years of sun exposure when melanin becomes clumped or produced in high concentrations. The use of commercial tanning lamps and beds also can cause age spots.

Risk factors.

You might be more likely to develop these spots if you: Have light skin. And have a history of frequent or intense sun exposure or sunburn. However, they are not dangerous if they are true liver spots.

Prevention.

What Are Age Spots? To help avoid these and new ones after treatment, follow these tips for limiting your sun exposure: Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Because the sun’s rays are most intense during this time, try to schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day.

Image of sunscreen to support text
Sunscreen SPF 15 is too low use 30 or higher.

Always use sunscreen. Fifteen to 30 minutes before going outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring.

Cover up. For protection from the sun, wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than does a baseball cap or golf visor. In addition, consider wearing clothing designed to provide sun protection. Look for clothes labelled with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 40 to 50 to get the best protection.

Diagnosis.

Image of a doctor to support the text
Diagnosis by a doctor.

Diagnosing them might include Visual inspection. Your doctor can usually diagnose liver spots by looking at your skin. It’s important to distinguish liver spots from other skin disorders because the treatments differ, and using the wrong procedure may delay other needed therapy.

Skin biopsy. Your doctor might do other tests, such as removing a small skin sample for examination in a lab (skin biopsy). For example, a doctor can help distinguish an age spot from other conditions, such as lentigo-maligna, a type of skin cancer. A skin biopsy is usually done in a doctor’s office using a local anaesthetic.

Office Treatment

Image of handswith age spots to support the text
Hands with age spots
  • Laser and intense pulsed light therapy. These treatments help destroy melanin-making cells (the cells that color liver spots) without harming the surface of the skin.
  • Freezing (cryotherapy) For this treatment, your doctor will apply liquid nitrogen or another freezing solution to your age spots using a cotton-tipped swab.
  • Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. Dermabrasion involves planing (sanding down) the surface layer of your skin with a fast-spinning brush.
  • Chemical peel. During a chemical peel, your doctor will apply acid to your face, which destroys the very outer layer of your skin down to your age spots.
  • Ekstata. This is an in-office treatment for age spots just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a clinical trial.

3 Home Treatments.

Lemon Juice. The citric acid in lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent and exfoliates the skin, reducing liver spots. Dab fresh lemon juice directly onto the spots twice daily, and you should begin to notice improvements in about two months. Then, leave the juice on the skin for at least 30 minutes or as long as comfortable with it. You can also leave the juice on the skin overnight.

Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids, which are known to help lighten sun and liver spots. To combat the acidic nature of vinegar, you can mix it with olive oil, which will protect the skin from dryness. Apply every day on the skin and remove it after 20 minutes. Your skin will be left soft and smooth. It is normal to experience a little redness or sting at first (just like you would with a toner). If you have sensitive skin, or if it feels too strong, dilute with water.

Onion Juice. Onions contain sulfur compounds that act as antiseptics. They also contain acids that facilitate exfoliation. Lemons smell better, but some people may find them irritating to the skin. If your skin is intolerant to lemon juice, try fresh onion juice. Slice up some onions and rub the slices over the affected area two or three times a day. Another option is to mix one tablespoon of onion juice with two tablespoons of honey and apply the mixture to the affected area. Leave it on for about 15 minutes before washing the area thoroughly so that the strong smell goes away. Do this once or twice a day. See more home remedies.

In Conclusion.

Solar Lentigines, Liver Spots or Sun/Age Spots are not dangerous but might not look nice if visible, They can be treated in a doctors office, but that may be expensive. Home treatments are easy and cheap to administer, I have tried lemon juice, which makes them less visible, but I did not do that for long. I just wanted to see if it could work, and it did, but I only tried for a couple of days.

Important Note *

Remember that everyone is different, and it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to… So please do your own due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

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