Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough – We do a full examination of our face in the mirror practically every day as if it is part of our morning and/or evening routine. We stare at every blemish and watch the effects of aging take place with a little disgruntle every time we spot something new. Age spots occur on the skin looking like tan, brown, or black spots. They are very, very common, mostly seen on the face, arms, hands, and shoulders. The years after age 50 seem to display the early exposure to sun. True age spots are harmless. Other terms for them are liver spots or solar lentigines. They’re also more visible on people who have a lighter skin tone.
Fighting off the effects of aging is not the battle we wanted to face, but age spots are part of this. The sun is good in small doses, and tanning beds are to be avoided. Although we can pretty much self-diagnose age spots, it is important to ask your doctor to examine your skin every 6 months to check for any cancerous growths.
Treatment is possible to lighten these spots. The most effective treatment is done with laser work. Cryotherapy is another option which involves liquid nitrogen injection to the area. There are topical creams as well that will over time lighten the areas.
The key is to start protecting your skin now. Don’t wait any longer. Yes, we need that sunshine vitamin D, but we should also wear sunscreen, especially on the face. Look for a face moisturizer that has sunscreen in it and there are also makeup products like powders and foundations that contain sunscreen. An extra layer never hurts. The spots do become darker with more exposure. Covering up is also another good idea. If you are going to be gardening or bike riding, wear gloves. There are hats to protect your face and some even have UV protection. Shielding your skin even if it is hot is very important. Re application of sunscreen should also be done.
We can’t erase the past which can creep up on us. Yet, we can protect the skin moving forward to at least slow down or reduce the risk of more and more aging. Don’t let your skin reveal your age. Your outer layer needs to be taken care of. It protects you, so in turn, protect it. Age spots are only spots that are memories of the sun. It’s time to store those memories and make new ones being sun safe.