Age Spots – Not just an age problem

One of the first signs of aging is hyper-pigmentation, manifested through dark spots on your skin. Also known as liver spots, they have nothing to do with the liver, as almost in all cases they are caused by long-term sun exposure. At first, one may notice dark brown spots and patches on the hands or on the face, the areas that are almost all the time exposed to the sun. That’s why the spots will appear darker in these areas, more than they appear in other areas of the body. There can also be a genetic predisposition to developing age spots in a lifetime.

The first spots can appear in the early twenties and can go away in time through the skin’s natural regeneration process, if skin is protected when exposed to sun. Most of the dark spots appear with the aging process because that’s when skin loses its ability to regenerate fast. The dark color is caused by the melanocyte cells which produce an excess of melanin – the skin pigment, and this is gets deposited in the top layers of the skin.

These unpleasant spots can occasionally appear as a result of the use of birth control pills, hormonal imbalance, insufficient vitamin B in your body or skin reactions to perfumes and creams after sun exposure. Make sure you have a diet rich in Vitamin B and don’t apply perfumes (or products containing fragrance) directly on your skin prior to sun exposure. It is important to protect these spots from UVs even if they’re not sun related, because more sun can worsen the appearance

Treating hyper-pigmentation is best done with a melanin suppressant, its action leading to the slow recovery of the area and the lightening of the spot. Hydroquinone is the best known solution for dark spots but there are other useful alternatives like antioxidants, Azelaic Acid or Kojic Acid. It is important to avoid sun exposure – any direct UV exposure will darken the spots even more. Wear sunscreen or cover the area with clothes as much as possible; some of the melanin suppressants usually sensitize the skin and the reaction to UVs can darken the age spots even more.

Can you prevent dark spots and age spots from forming on your skin just by making lifestyle choices?

Dr. Howard Murad explains how a combination of skin care and Inclusive Health® can help you to prevent dark spots on your skin.

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