If the sun has got to your skin and you’re seeing age spots on your face and hands, don’t despair – there is a solution!!
Over time, with exposure to the sun, unsightly spots can start to appear on your hands or face, making you look older than your years. But the good news is, you don’t have to live with them. Before looking at options to reduce or get rid of age spots, visit your skin specialist to make sure that this is all they are, and nothing more serious.
There are two primary ways to deal with age spots. The first is using topical creams and lotions – and this requires discipline. Many non-prescription skin-lightening products can be bought over the counter, but you need to check their ingredients with a skin specialist first, to make sure they aren’t detrimental to your health. Products that contain mercury, for example, are dangerous. In fact, with so many creams on the market, it can be more cost-efficient to visit a dermatologist first to find one that will work, before spending a fortune on dozens that won’t. Prescription skin-lightening creams and lotions work well, but to see results, they need to be applied once or twice daily for weeks, if not months.
The second way to deal with age spots is to undergo a procedure, such as a chemical peel or laser therapy. These work faster, but they are costlier and may have side-effects.
Here are the main procedures used:
Cryotherapy: In this common age-spot treatment, a dermatologist damages cells in the age spot by freezing them. When the skin heals, it appears lighter. It can be a painful treatment with some pain, blistering, or swelling and redness after, but it is quick.
The treatment must be done by a certified dermatologist to avoid side-effects, such as scarring, or darker age spots with lighter skin around it.
Chemical Peeling: This procedure can successfully treat age spots on the hands. A study comparing cryotherapy and chemical peeling found that 47 per cent of the patients undergoing the chemical peel saw a 50 per cent lightening in their age spots. Patients who had cryotherapy had somewhat better results, but with the peel, skin was seen to heal more quickly.
Microdermabrasion: This procedure involves a dermatologist smoothing the spots away. It works especially well when patients have also had a chemical peel. In one study, researchers found that 40 per cent of patients treated with microdermabrasion once every two weeks for 16 weeks saw their age spots totally disappear. The microdermabrasion treatment may cause redness for a few hours and flaky skin for a few days.
Laser Treatment: Age spots can be treated quickly with one or two laser treatments and the results will probably last longer than with skin-lightening creams. There may be some side-effects though, like temporary darkening of the spots, or crusting that one wouldn’t get with creams. However, these side-effects usually fade.
WARNING: protect your skin from the sun
Whatever treatment you decide to go with, the importance of protecting your skin from sun exposure goes without saying. It’s sun exposure that caused them in the first place, so if you don’t take care, treated spots can reappear and new ones may also develop. Apply a water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher daily before venturing outdoors, and wear protective clothing.