Beauty tips: What are age spots and how can they be corrected?

Learn what age spots on the skin are and how they can be corrected.

Everyone wants a beautiful, clear complexion. Creamy or porcelain, tan or dark bronze, brown or black. Nice skin is prized in most cultures. There are many reasons why skin may become blemished. Acne, rosacea, eczema and just plain, sensitive skin are a few conditions causing imperfections. One of the most common imperfections is brown spotting or patches. Just exactly what are they and how can they be prevented or treated?

Beauty tips: What are age spots and how can they be corrected?

Brown spots on the skin, sometimes called age or liver spots, are also known as hyperpigmentation and are darker than the surrounding area. Simply put, they are a darkening of the skin that occurs when an excess of melanin, the pigment that causes normal skin color, is produced and shows up on the skin. It is relatively harmless and may affect any race and any color skin. These spots are not freckles. Freckles are inherited and usually occur mostly on the face and arms, but they can appear anywhere on the body.

There are a few reasons why hyperpigmentation can occur. Smaller spots, which show up on the hands and face, but are not limited to these two areas are called lentigines and are usually caused by too much sun exposure with out the use of sunscreen. Larger patches of darkened skin are called melasma or chloasma. This involves the sun and hormonal changes. For example, pregnancy and women taking birth control pills. Other dark spots may happen when the skin is injured in some way perhaps due to acne, surgery or accidental injury.

The best way to deal with hyperpigmentation from the sun is to avoid it altogether or by wearing sunscreen everyday not just when going to the beach or being out in the sun for recreational purposes. The skin is exposed to sunlight many times during the day, while driving the car or walking down the street. These short blocks of time in the sun do affect the skin. Wearing an SPF of 15 on the body and at least 30 on the face will provide ample protection. Sun protection factors can be found in many day creams and lotions as well as sun products. A hat or visor helps too.

If you already have brown spots there are ways to lighten them. Hydroquinone is used in most bleaching products in a two percent formula over the counter and four percent in prescription form. These are usually found in topical creams and should be used for at least two months before deciding whether they are effective enough. Alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins A and C are also useful as bleaching and exfoliating agents.

If topical agents don’t seem to produce the results wanted by lightening the dark patches to one’s liking, laser treatments done in the doctor’s office may also be considered if the spots are of the smaller type. A doctor will usually test an area of skin before the treatment to be sure the correct results will be obtained.

Once the desired lightening effect is achieved, care should be taken to avoid the sun and wear sunscreen. If care is not taken the spot will re-occur.

As can be seen there are some options when it comes to preventing and treating brown spots on the skin. All it takes is the desire for a better appearance, a little research and perhaps a visit to the doctor’s office and your skin will be looking better in no time.

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