If you have started to notice small dark spots on your face and hands your thoughts may be turning to age spots treatment.
Brown spots can appear any time from your thirties on. Some women don’t get them until well into their fifties or sixties and if you’re lucky you may even escape them altogether.
No matter when you first notice them – most of us hate to see them on our faces – and age spots on hands can be just as bad if not worse. The good thing is you don’t need to suffer in silence.
Removing age spots may be slow and it can be expensive – in the long run it pays to be well informed up front.
Although they can be dealt with in similar ways – don’t confuse acne scarring with age spots. If you have small darker patches of skin on your face and you get acne then these are likely to be scarring from the acne blemishes rather than age spots from sun damage.
Check out where the dark spots are – if you get them on your face, back or other places you have had acne then chances are it’s not age spots. Having said that age spots treatment will help with acne scarring too so read on!
What do age spots look like?
Age spots have a different look to scar tissue from acne. They tend to be less regular and the skin surface can be raised and uneven rather than pitted. These darker areas of skin form over time and they may start off looking like larger and slightly faded freckles and then get deeper in color with the raised texture that many women find so distressing.
The more delicate, thinner skinned areas on your face and body will likely show the damage first – the backs of hands, around the eyes and the chest area.
What causes age spots?
We dislike them in part because they seem to tell us and everyone else that we aren’t so young as we once were – but the truth is that brown spots on hands or faces have very little to do with aging.
They are small patches of hyperpigmentation from sun exposure and we get more of them as we age because our skin tends to have been more exposed to the sun the older we get. Age spots, sunspots or liver spots, whatever you call them, if you stay indoors all your life you won’t get them.
The more time you spend outside the more chance you have of getting them – golfers, gardeners, and general fresh air fiends are all more at risk. Naturally the risk is worse if you live in a sunny climate – California or Florida say or most parts of Australia – the more sunlight hours the worse for your skin unfortunately.
The problem is for many of us that the damage may have been done years ago – long before sun protection became the norm – and sun damage takes years to emerge.
Your genes play a part
Genetics also matter as in most things – if your parents had little sun damage despite a life outdoors then it is likely you may inherit their inbuilt resistance. Don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security though – wearing sunblock still matters.
Lifestyle factors contribute to age spots
Diet and lifestyle matter too – a high antioxidant diet with plenty of flavonoids from highly colored fruit and vegetables increases your bodies ability to resist the damage from free radicals like UV rays.
Smoking on the other hand is likely to increase your risk. Smoking ages skin and impedes the flow of nutrients and antioxidants to the capillaries under your skin.
If you are serious about getting rid of your age spots – make sure your lifestyle doesn’t undermine the treatment your choose.
How to get rid of age spots
Wanting to remove age spots is really driven by vanity as there’s no health risk and they don’t cause pain. On the other hand – most of us hate the look of them and they can make us feel self conscious about our looks.
You don’t have to put up with them if you are unhappy – taking action to get rid of age spots can be a huge boost to your self esteem and make you feel younger too.
Age spots treatments
Choosing the right treatment depends really on how far you want to go and how much you want to spend. Are you prepared to put up with a bit of pain and spend some fairly serious money on an age spot treatment or do you prefer a more gentle approach that will fade your age spots gently over time?
Stay realistic about your chances of removing age spots completely – there are downsides to each option and no perfect instant remedy.
1. Topical treatments
For facial age spots your first option would be to look at an dark spot removal cream with a high strength active ingredient – either a natural or chemical skin lightener. In America fade creams typically contain hydroquinone but in Europe because of the potential hydroquinone risks it is not an approved ingredient and so natural alternatives like liquorice extract are often used to lighten the skin.
Topical remedies also include creams and serums with high strength ingredients to accelerate skin cell renewal. Retinol products at high concentration, vitamin C serums or skin care formulations with high levels of glycolic acid are all used to treat age spots. The appearance of hyperpigmentation is likely to lessen over time with these remedies.
Age spots on hands can be dealt with in this way too but you may have less chance of success since the cream is not going to be in contact with the skin on your hands for such a long time. Hands are constantly being washed and reapply a topical cream may be expensive and ineffective.
For the best topical solutions look at quality brands like Murad, Skinceuticals, Skin Medica and Obagi sell high strength products which are a very effective way remove age spots over time.
2. Skin resurfacing
Option for removing age spots with this method include deep chemical peels, laser resurfacing (with ablative lasers) and dermabrasion. None of these treatments should be undertaken lightly since they all involve removing the surface layer of skin on your face down to the dermis in most cases.
Skin resurfacing can be an effective age spot treatment but it involves pain and downtime and it is a surgical procedure which means you need a highly qualified board certified plastic surgeon to do it. One of the disadvantages is that resurfacing is a bit of a blunt tool which will take off more of the skin’s surface than you need to remove the age spots.
3. Laser treatments
Increasingly nowadays laser treatments for age spots are seen as the best way to go if you want to get rid of them for good. Laser treatment is increasingly used with success to get rid of age spots on hands as well as the face and chest.
The advantage is that certain lasers can be used to precisely target only the dark area of skin avoiding the unaffected skin around it.
There is a downside to this precision though. The skin that grows back after laser removal may be much lighter since it hasn’t been exposed to any sun. Instead of a dark age spot you could have a lighter spot where the hyperpigmentation has been removed.
This new skin will need high sun protection and may take a while to blend in – some people say that the light spots never completely disappear. Other reviews report very good results. If you go for laser treatment for age spots on your face then you can use makeup to achieve an even skin color and tone. Age spot removal on your hands will be more visible since you can’t apply makeup to disguise the lighter area.
If you don’t want to spend too much money on trying to get rid of age spots – you can always hide them from view. You’ll need a heavy duty high pigment concealer – or try a makeup made for hiding scars or skin blemishes.
Match to your overall skin tone and blend with a brush before applying your normal makeup and blusher. Concealer is a good option for facial age spots but won’t work for age spots on hands or other areas where makeup would rub off.
Spending money on the right age spots treatment is well worth it – but don’t forget to protect your skin from further damage.
Apply an anti aging sun block before heading outdoors – whatever the weather. Look out for moisturizers and make up with high SPF and make sure your sun block has both UVA and UVB protection. Boost your diet, stop smoking, moderate alcohol intake and treat your skin with the best anti aging skin care you can afford.
Getiting rid of age spots is one thing – making sure you don’t get them again is what really matters.