If there’s one thing that can make you feel old, it’s discovering that you have age spots on your skin. The name alone can make you cringe, even though it’s not medically correct. Age spots also go by the names liver spots, sun spots, solar lentigines, and senile lentigo. Senile lentigo? That’s almost worse than age spots, especially when you’re neither old nor senile.
Appearance and Causes of Age Spots
You can recognize age spots by their flat appearance and black, brown, or gray spots on your skin. They typically show up on areas of your skin that see the most sun exposure. For most people, that includes the face, back of the hands, forearms, upper back, and shoulders. While it might sound obvious that the process of aging causes age spots, the amount of time you spend in the sun plays a major role as well.
Who Develops Age Spots the Most?
Anyone can get age spots, regardless of age, race, or gender. However, the following characteristics increase the likelihood of developing them:
- Having fair skin
- Being over 40 years old
- A history of frequent sun exposure or tanning bed use
- Genetic predisposition to skin pigment changes
You may have age spots for quite a while before you notice them. That is because they are painless and the same texture as the rest of your skin. It’s only when you look close enough to see the difference in pigmentation that you realize you have joined the age spot club. While you may find them unsightly, the good news is they are harmless.
Preventing and Treating Age Spots
You can’t always stop age spots from developing, but practicing smart sun safety habits can delay their appearance. For example, avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. since the sun’s rays are most intense during these hours. Be sure to wear sunscreen with a 15 or greater SPF every day and re-apply every two hours if you go swimming or perspire. Protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and lightweight long-sleeved shirts, are helpful as well.
Some over-the-counter creams claim to get rid of age spots, but neither make-up nor non-prescription drugs can do that. The best you can do with non-professional treatment is try to disguise the age spots.
Eliminate Age Spots with PicoSure Laser Treatment
The most effective way to get rid of age spots is through laser treatment. The laser we use – the PicoSure® laser system – eliminates skin pigmentation issues by sending multiple bursts of light lasting just one trillionth of a second to your deepest skin layers. The light energy breaks up the brown, black, or gray pigmentation and returns your skin to even coloring. Depending on the number and color of your age spots, you can achieve the results you desire in just a few outpatient sessions.
Dermatology Associates offers a full spectrum of leading edge medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology services from offices in Savannah and Vidalia.