Age spots, also known as brown spots, sun spots, liver spots or lentigos, are flat, oval patches of pigmented skin. UVA sunlight stimulates your pigment cells called, “melanocytes” to manufacture this pigment called, “melanin”. This is not only responsible for a tan but also for your unwanted dark patches.
The most common colour is brown, but they can also be red or almost black. These usually occur in adults over 40, but younger people can also get them if they spend a lot of time in the sun. Age spots are completely harmless.
WHAT CAUSES AGE SPOTS?
The most common causes as to why you develop age spots on your skin are:
- Skin aging
- Sun damage
- Tanning beds
AGE SPOTS SIGN AND SYMPTOMS
You may have age spots if you detect a spot that has the following conditions:
- Range from light brown to black in color
- Have the same texture as the rest of your skin
- Range from freckle size to about half inch
- They can group together, making them more noticeable
- Are usually on sun-exposed areas of your skin
HOW CAN I PREVENT AGE SPOTS?
You can prevent age spots from developing on your skin by following these tips:
- Wear SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunscreen. Use a SPF of 30 or higher when you are outdoors, whether in the sun or not, as UVA light levels can cause damage throughout the year. Reapply every two hours if you are swimming or perspiring.
- Avoid the sun between 10am and 2pm. The sun's rays are most intense during this time.
- Eating antioxidant food which can be found in fruit - especially intensely coloured fruit such as berries or blackcurrants - and vegetables.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do age spots come and go?
They may appear and disappear, fading in the winter and darkening in the summer.
Can age spots turn into cancer?
Although they are common and can appear anywhere, they are not linked to skin cancer.
How to tell the difference between age spots and melanomas?
In opposition to age spots, melanoma are:
- Asymmetrical, as one side is typically bigger.
- Borders look very irregular.
- Really dark. The darker the lesion, the greater your concern should be.
- Tend to be larger in diameter than a pencil eraser.
- If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to contact a dermatologist immediately.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR AGE SPOTS
The acid in the fresh lemon juice helps lighten the age spots but you need to be constant to see a difference, as results start being visible from 6 to 12 weeks. Cut a few lemon slices and place them directly onto your age spots. Leave them on the skin for at least 15 minutes. You can also leave them on the skin overnight.
Apple cider vinegar
As apples are very beneficial for many skin ailments and health issues, apple cider vinegar is a good option to reduce your age spots. Mix it with olive oil to softener the acidic from the vinegar, and apply this mixture on your skin. Leave it for 20 minutes and then rinse. Repeat every day.
The lactic acid found in yogurt gently removes dead skin cells, lightening and exfoliating your skin. Apply some plain yogurt directly on the spots. Let it dry on its own for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with water. For faster results, apply yogurt on the affected area before going to bed and leave it on overnight. Repeat this process from 2 to 3 times a week.