Published: April 5, 2022
Even though we try not to think about it, we all know our bodies are going to change as we get older. That flight of stairs is going to get a little more difficult to walk up. One day, we’re suddenly going to find small streaks of gray in our hair. And, unfortunately, our skin is going to show a little more wear and tear, whether from wrinkles, scars, or age spots.
You can’t completely prevent yourself from aging. But you can slow down (and in some cases, reverse!) the signs of aging with some simple lifestyle habits, like avoiding sun exposure and using effective skin care products.
Not only are age spots largely preventable, but even if you already have them, there are things you can do to fade their appearance.
"Age spots and liver spots have inflammation as an aggravating factor, that is why it is important to include an anti-inflammatory during the treatment course. Dermatologists often use a topical steroid for this purpose, which can be effective but can only be used for a short period of time. When incorporating home care products to reduce liver spots, look for gentle and plant-based ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties."
Christine Lee, Board Certified Esthetician and [ comfort zone ] Master Educator
Age spots, also known as liver spots or sun spots, are patches of unusually dark skin on your body. They’re called age spots because they’re most likely to appear after age 50, although some people develop them earlier in life.
Age spots are caused by hyperpigmentation of your skin cells. This means that your skin starts producing too much pigment (color), making it appear darker than normal. The pigment that produces skin color is called melanin.
Why does your skin start overproducing melanin? It all comes down to your sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun speed up your body’s natural melanin production. Over time, UV rays can cause your skin to overproduce this dark pigment, leading to age spots.
Unlike freckles, which fade after sun exposure ends, age spots are more permanent. However, they do appear similar to freckles clumped together. They’re most common in areas of the skin that frequently receive sun exposure, like your face, arms, or hands as well as the tops of your feet.
Liver spots are not painful or itchy, but they do signify your body has received a significant amount of sun exposure. While age spots are not indicative of any serious medical condition, it’s a good idea to monitor them, as they can appear similar to some types of skin cancer.
Some people are more at risk of developing age spots, including people who:
- Are naturally light skinned
- Use tanning beds
- Work outdoors
- Have received extreme sunburns in the past
If you fit into one of these categories but haven’t yet developed age spots, it’s a good idea to start protecting your skin now. Unlike freckles or a sunburn, age spots do not immediately appear when you’re overexposed to sunlight. Instead, sunlight exposure over time can cause them to develop as you age.
This means if you have years of too much sun exposure but start adequately protecting your skin today, you still might not be able to completely prevent age spots. However, you will likely reduce their prevalence and severity when they do develop.
Age spots aren’t inherently dangerous, but some people want them removed or faded for cosmetic reasons. Luckily, there are many treatment options available for age spots, although even after treatment it may take several months before you notice any results.
If you have questions about scheduling a treatment to fade age spots, contact a dermatologist. All of the treatments below can be performed as an outpatient in a dermatology office.
There are many skin lightening creams that might help fade your age spots. What we recommend is to look for boosters that contain retinol, retinal or 4-N-Butylresorcinol, and niacinamide.
These formulas will be at a different concentration than a prescription cream, but depending on the severity of your age spots, they could still be highly effective at reducing their appearance and preferable in order to avoid aggressions to the skin.
Also, steer away from any creams that contain mercury or ingredients such as calomel, cinnabaris, hydrargyri oxydum rubrum, or quicksilver. Mercury is extremely dangerous and should never be applied to the skin. It can cause severe liver and nervous system problems for you and for people around you.
Keep in mind that you may need to use an over-the-counter or prescription cream for several months before your age spots will visibly fade.
[comfort zone] /skin regimen/ retinol booster visibly fades age spots in days by delicately removing affected skin from within. A 1.5% concentration of Encapsulated Retinol, Sylibin and Longevity ComplexTM stimulates the tissues regeneration and compactness, without triggering inflammatory mechanisms. [comfort zone] /skin regimen/ retinol booster visibly fades age spots in days by delicately removing affected skin.
[comfort zone] Dark Spot Corrector is also clinically tested to treat sun spots by exfoliating and reducing pigmentation thanks to a combination of 4-N-Butylresorcinol, considered one of the most potent inhibitor of the tyrosinase enzyme reducing the synthesis of melanin, along with a keratolytic enzyme, exfoliating the superficial dead skin.
Chemical peels are effective at reducing the appearance of age spots because they essentially remove your uppermost skin layers. Since these layers are where the age spots are darkest, removing them makes your age spots appear lighter.
We recommend to receive your first chemical peels from expert [ comfort zone ] therapist, you can easily find on our spa locator, and you can use Comfort Zone and /Skin regimen/ over-the-counter products to exfoliate at home and intensify your results!
For a gentle over-the-counter treatment, combine Sublime Skin micropeel lotion with /skin regimen/ vitamin C booster to exfoliate off age spots and brighten dull skin.
For a more intense over-the-counter exfoliation, use the peel pads for both mechanical and chemical exfoliation or glyco-lacto peel also promote progressive skin renewal if used every day for 28 days!
Chemical peels can be performed at your dermatologist’s office, or you can use over-the-counter products to exfoliate instead.
Chemical peels performed by your dermatologist are more intense, so they can cause your skin to be red for several weeks. Because of this, many people prefer to have spa treatments and cosmetic solutions. In this case, we are here to help!
Both dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are processes that deeply exfoliate your skin. If you can picture a piece of sandpaper smoothing out a cut of wood, then you have some idea of what dermabrasion is like.
With dermabrasion, your skin is exfoliated using a brush. The upper layer of skin, which contains the darkest age spots, is sanded down. Over time, new skin that’s less dark in color grows to replace it. In the interim, your skin may be red and swollen.
Microdermabrasion is a similar, but less intense, process. Instead of a brush, small crystals are used to exfoliate your skin. As a result, the adverse effects of redness and swelling are less noticeable, but the results are less noticeable, too.
Laser resurfacing is an intriguing option for many people wanting to reduce the appearance of age spots because, unlike cryotherapy, dermabrasion, or chemical peels, it doesn’t damage the surface of your skin.
Laser resurfacing involves a dermatologist shining a laser on your age spots. This laser destroys the cells responsible for your hyperpigmentation. Laser resurfacing does require multiple treatments, and it might temporarily cause scabbing in the area of your age spots.
In most cases, you don’t need to consult a dermatologist for age spots. They aren’t dangerous or painful, and they don’t require treatment. However, age spots can appear similar to some types of skin cancer, so if you’re not sure if you’re developing age spots or another condition, your dermatologist should definitely be consulted.
Age spots generally appear like freckles, although they can be up to a half inch wide in size. If you notice a new age spot (or any new skin feature), it’s a good idea to have your dermatologist take a look. If they aren’t certain whether a dark spot is benign or cancerous, they may decide to take a skin biopsy.
Even if you have had age spots previously diagnosed, you should contact your dermatologist if you notice spots that:
- Are changing color
- Are turning black
- Have an irregular border (not smooth)
- Are growing
Your dermatologist should evaluate these spots to ensure skin cancer is not developing in the area.
There are many aspects of aging that we can’t control. But age spot prevention and reduction is possible! If you are experiencing unsightly age spots, contact your dermatologist to determine the best treatment option for you.
[comfort zone] products are designed to keep you feeling comfortable in your own skin—all while nourishing the planet, too. No one should have to be embarrassed by age spots or other signs of aging. Combining daily sunscreen use with a gentle exfoliator and a vitamin C booster can help nourish and protect your skin.
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