If you’ve ever noticed a new mark or spot show up on your skin, chances are you don’t take it lightly. Whether it’s a new blemish that seems to appear overnight or a dark spot that just won’t go away, noticing a change in your skin can be a big deal. One change, however, is so common yet many know so little about. We’re talking about age spots. These flat dark spots can appear on various areas of the skin and are typically brown, black, or even tan colored.
While so many people, especially older adults, find themselves sporting these age spots, understanding why they’ve appeared, how to treat them, and even how to prevent them, is a subject that is less widely known. While the best treatment for age spots starts before you get them, there are, fortunately, a plethora of ways to help lighten their appearance. But first, let’s talk about what are age spots and how you get them in the first place.
What Are Age Spots
Many of us use the term age spots to describe these flat dark spots commonly found on mature skin but they are known by multiple names. Liver spots, sun spots, and solar lentigines are terms typically used to describe age spots and are helpful to fully understand what age spots are. Although their common name may lead you to believe otherwise, age spots don’t technically have anything to do with age. What causes age spots is continued, unprotected exposure to the sun. Generally, this exposure will occur over the course of years finally resulting in the appearance of age spots once skin is older. However, it isn’t uncommon to find young people with age spots, especially if they spend frequent, prolonged periods of time outdoors in the sun.
Age spots can appear on any part of the skin but as they are caused by exposure to the sun, the most common areas you’ll find them are on the face, feet, back, shoulders, and hands. People of any skin tone can develop age spots, however, age spots are normally found on people with lighter complexions. Most age spots are brown or black in color and can be as small as a freckle or larger. When you first catch sight of an age spot on your skin, it can be a little concerning. Age spots can tend to look eerily familiar to a type of skin cancer called melanoma. Always check with your dermatologist if you notice new spots, but age spots while they may not be as flattering as you’d like, they are harmless and only treated for cosmetic reasons.
Getting Rid of Age Spots
If you’re already at the point where you have noticed age spots popping up on your skin, this next bit of information may be a little too late, but for those who haven’t, you’ll want to follow this advice. The best way to treat age spots starts with preventing them from occurring. Prevention is key when it comes to age spots because the best way to decrease your chances of getting age spots is protecting your skin from the sun. This can be something as simple as making sure to apply ample amounts of sunscreen before heading out into the sun, covering your skin if you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, or avoiding the sun altogether if you please. If you’re opting to go the sunscreen route to prevent age spots—which is a must for all skin tones and types if you want to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy—make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays and has a minimum SPF 15.
For those who are past the prevention stage and have moved on to getting rid of age spots, we have some helpful information for you too. The most common method to fade age spots is by using a bleaching or retinol cream. These creams are prescribed by dermatologists and used to gradually lighten age spots over the course of a few months. If that doesn’t sound like something you’d be up for and you’re looking for a more intense approach to fade age spots, there are multiple procedures you can get particularly for age spots on the face. Common procedures like microdermabrasion, light therapy, and chemical peels are used to lighten age spots in as little as one session.
Best Products for Age Spots
Whether you opt for the procedure or the prescription route, following up with good skin care products will help your skin look its best. The best products to use for age spots are anti-aging products that are packed with skin brightening ingredients. The best cream for age spots is the Kiehl’s Photo-Age Corrector Intensive Corrective Moisturizer. This moisturizer is packed with fruit and plant botanicals to reduce pigmentation like age spots. Also, anything that includes vitamin C is a great option to help brighten skin and fade age spots naturally,