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Age Spots Treatment
- Melanocytes are skin cells triggered by UV exposure and cause an increase in melanin production, which darkens the skin. Age spots are one skin discoloration condition that results from this reaction
- Although not always a sign of skin cancer, the sun damaged skin that often causes age spots to form does incur a higher risk for developing skin cancer
- Prevention – usually applying sunscreen whenever UV exposure is expected – is the best way of avoiding this pigmentation issue
- Age spots can be treated with chemical peels, intense pulse light therapy and skin care vitamin E
Age spots really have nothing to do with…well, aging. They appear regardless of your age, sex and habits. Although genetic factors play some role, age spots are mostly related to the sun.
Age spots, often known as liver spots, sunspots, lentigines or lentigos, are all caused by overexposure to the sun and usually appear as flat and tan lesions. The cells that produce skin pigmentation are called melanocytes. They are triggered by the sun’s UV rays to increase the production of the pigment, melanin. This explains the dark brown color of most age spots. They are most likely to appear on the exposed areas of the body such as the face, hands, back and feet. These spots are not cancerous, but the risk of getting skin cancer increases.
Age spots are basically pigments collected in larger quantities when exposed to bright sunlight. Sometimes, age spots might also occur due to some bruises that have left the blood pigments to pool in a concentrated area. These cases are very common in people over 55 years of age. Even if the age spot is not directly caused by the sun, it is still susceptible to further aggravation by overexposure. People that have freckles may be at higher risk of getting age spots as they tend to burn easily.
Removing age spots can be a difficult task. It requires patience and depends on your health conditions. Little can be done until the body has time to regenerate. The best way to treat age spots is by properly preventing them. Prevention here means sun protection and awareness of sun protection factor. Use the proper sunscreen lotions and gels.
Bleaching creams contain 2% hydroquinone and are usually sold over-the-counter. The prescribed creams might use single bleaching agents like Retin-A or certain combined medicines like hydroquinone and tretinoinplus with cortisone cream. Over a period of months, these creams can aid in the removal of age spots. Of course, prescribed bleaching creams pack a stronger punch, but both categories may come with side effects. So, use with caution.
Chemical peels should be administered by physicians. They make the skin smoother and enhance firmness, but their chemical makeup require professional assistance. The peels can either be superficial or deeper. The superficial ones, such as glycolic acid peels, are easier to use and very safe. The deeper peels are far more effective, but require a longer period of recovery.
Here, age spots are burnt with the help of a laser. Resurfacing can also be used for removing skin discoloration related to age, wrinkles and fine lines in just a single session of treatment. Certain lasers such as CO2 are given gold standards and if protected from the sun, the effect can last up to five years.
IPL or Intense Pulse Light Therapy
IPL is an advanced form of conducting facial rejuvenation. IPL or intense pulsed light uses intense and broadband light for treatment. IPL can deliver its energy to both the superficial as well as the deep layers of our skin, thus preventing the epidermis from any damage. IPL can effectively treat age spots on the hands and other areas lasting up to a whole year if protected from the sun. IPL is also safer than other treatments like laser therapy as it does not cause any damage to the epidermis. The only disadvantage is that this therapy requires multiple sittings for treatment.
Age spots can also be treated with some natural methods. Reliable natural treatments include antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, D and E. Minerals like zinc and selenium can also be used as supplements or topically applied to reduce facial age spots. The A & C vitamins are very helpful and can help in the evenings as skin toners.
If you are looking for some traditional ways to remove age spots, you can use acidic fruits and their juices. Wash the afftected areas with these juices daily. Age spots on the hands and face can be reduced with fruit slices. And, if there are leftovers, they taste pretty good too.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Pigmented Skin26 Sep 2008|