What’s Really Causing those Spots?

melasmaWe know them as age spots. Our parents and grandparents may have called them “liver spots.” You know what we’re talking about; you may have even started noticing a few small, brown markings on your chest, hands, arms, or face. This type of discoloration, or hyperpigmentation, is not the same as freckles or other skin conditions such as melasma. Whether you were led to believe that age spots are an inevitable rite of passage or have been completely caught off-guard by the appearance of your skin, you need to know that you don’t have to accept this as your new norm.

To call age spots by this name is really a disservice to growing older. We can see why the moniker became popular. Back in the days before we became aware of a little thing called sun damage, folks had no better knowing that to think that aging caused these changes in their skin. It is true that these spots tend to show up sometime in our mid-forties or later. However, by the time they are noticeable, they have been present beneath the skin for decades.

Age spots – aka sun damage – are usually seen on the arms, cheeks, backs of the hands, and the chest; all the places where the sun touches the most. The exposure that we get to UVA radiation year after year builds up. It sends our little melanocytes into overdrive, and they send excess melanin into the tissue beneath the epidermis. Over time, as old cells slough off and new ones make their way to the surface, this extra pigment becomes obvious, and that can be a problem.

Look Better to Feel Better
It goes without saying that we tend to feel better when we like how we look. Age spots make us feel older, even if we have a lot of energy and creative force to bring to the world. Adults in today’s society are remaining more active in their careers and in life, and they want to look good. Age spots just have no place in this scenario. Fortunately, we can do something about them.
1.If brown spots are pre-cancerous (actinic keratosis), they may be treated with liquid nitrogen.
2.Cosmetic brown spots may be lightened with topical hydroquinone.
3.Collagen rebuilding treatments like microneedling restore more youthful vibrancy.
4.Laser and light treatments, such as IPL or photofacial, can lighten dark spots quickly and comfortably.

The best way to handle age spots is to avoid them. Since we cannot prevent exposure to natural sunlight (this would be bad for our health!), we need to learn the habits that will ward off UV damage. This includes wearing sunscreen on a daily basis.

If brown spots are mottling your beautiful skin, schedule your visit with us to find your way back to a brighter tomorrow.

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