As we get older, age takes its toll on our bodies. Modern medicine has been fighting the aging process with various methods and techniques for years. One of these symptoms is age spots, also known as solar lentigines or liver spots. Fortunately, they have no connection to the liver. Age spots are tan, brown, or black spots which form on different areas of the body due to them producing an excessive amount of melanin which is the pigment that gives our skin its color. Many people don’t like what age spots look like, especially if they appear on their faces. In this article, we will discuss six treatment options to get rid of age spots.
Non-Prescription Lightening Creams and Serums
Over-the-counter lightening creams and serums won’t make age spots disappear completely, but they do help to suppress the production of melanin to a degree. They work more effectively on spots that have been caught early and not as dark as the other ones. If you want to give this treatment a try, you need to look for these ingredients in OTC creams and serums:
- Glycolic Acid
- Kojic Acid
- Licorice Root Extract
- Tranexamic Acid
- Vitamin C
Hydroquinone is the most effective ingredient for lightening the skin, but, be careful as it may cause skin irritation or rebound pigmentation if the cream is applied to the skin for too long. Age spots on the face can be also reduced by incorporating a vitamin C serum in your daily skincare routine. Vitamin C prevents age spots from forming, helps to protect the skin against sun damage, and brightens the face.
Prescription creams are more effective than OTC lightening creams on age spots. However, they also don’t clear up the spots completely, but they lighten them better than the OTC alternatives. It will take several weeks to months to notice any change in the age spots. You need a dermatologist to prescribe these creams. The most commonly prescribed treatments are hydroquinone and tretinoin. As discussed earlier, hydroquinone reduces the production of melanin, while tretinoin can improve skin texture and reduce pigmentation. In some treatments, a mild steroid is applied with the other creams to boost fading the age spots. Keep in mind that these treatments may have side effects such as redness, dryness, burning, or itching but you will find they are temporary.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL therapy, also known as photofacial, is a non-invasive and non-ablative procedure that improves the texture and color of the skin. It is the easiest and most effective way to remove age spots. IPL uses light energy that targets spots in the skin which have a different color. Age spots turn darker and disappear after a week as the ipl photofacial destroys the pigment. One of the advantages of IPL therapy is that it has no downtime as you feel burning for 4-6 hours which can be managed by ice packs or a cool washcloth. However, you might need four sessions to get rid of the age spots entirely. IPL is used to fight off various skin conditions, but you should consult your dermatologist because it is not suitable for everyone.
This is a treatment that your doctor will administer.r He or she will apply liquid nitrogen or another freezing agent to an age spot for five seconds or less using a cotton-tipped swab or a spray if treating a small grouping of spots. Cryotherapy freezes and destroys the cells responsible for making pigment which causes the spots to flake off. Your skin will appear lighter after it heals, but you might need a number of cryotherapy sessions to get the. The side effects of this treatment include skin irritation, swelling, blisters, redness, discoloration, or possibly scarring.
This is a process in which acid is applied to the age spots. It burns the very outer layer of the skin. After getting this treatment, this layer of skin will shed and peel, creating a new healthier layer. Chemical peels’ depth and frequency vary depending on the severity of the condition, as does the acid used in this treatment. A Few treatments may be required before you notice any changes in the age spots on your face. You should bear in mind that this procedure has a small chance of changing the color of your skin permanently. ou will feel redness after your treatment.
Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion
Both procedures sand down the spotted skin to enable new skin to replace it. Dermabrasion uses a rapidly spinning brush for sanding, while microdermabrasion uses tiny crystals. Microdermabrasion is easier on the skin than dermabrasion, but you will have to get this treatment a number of times to clear your age spots. The side effects of dermabrasion are redness, swelling, scabs, and the skin may take longer to look normal again as the healing process takes more time. Microdermabrasion might leave your skin red or flaky.
The sun is one of the main reasons for age spots. If you don’t have age spots and you want to prevent them from appearing, you should apply sunscreen if you are going to be exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. It is recommended to use sunscreen with a minimum protection of SPF 30 and to be water-resistant, and have UVA and UVB protection. You should reapply it every 2 hours. Wearing long sleeves, trousers, sunglasses, and wide-brimmed hats will protect your skin from the sun rays which will prevent age spots.
Though age spots are harmless, they don’t look good, especially on the face. Preventing them from appearing is easy, as long as you protect yourself from the sun using sunscreen or clothes which cover you properly. However, if you are struggling with these spots, there are many treatments that can either reduce their look or get rid of them completely. OTC and prescribed creams and serums help in reducing the age spots but they don’t remove them completely, and the process can take months before you see a difference. IPL therapy, cryotherapy, chemical peels, and dermabrasion will get rid of the age spots more effectively but you should consult your doctor before having any of these procedures.
Photo by Kimia Zarifi on Unsplash