What are age spots? Are these spots on the face, hands, shoulder or legs caused by liver problems? Technically known as sunspots, solar lentigo or lentigines these are skin spots that are usually harmless but are cosmetically bound to unattractive and uneven pigmentation of the skin.
What are age spots?
An age spot on skin requires one to look keenly at the color and size. In most cases, true age spots are flat and usually range in color from brown, light brown to dark or dark-red. They also vary in size. They can be as small as the pencil eraser. Sometimes they can be the size of a patch varying in between 0.2cm to 1.8cm in diameter.
Age spots on skin could be dark spots in people with a dark complexion. They look brown, dark tan or dark red in individuals with a fair skin tone. If they are formed due to the influence of UV radiation from the sun they are referred to as sunspots.
Why are they called liver spots? Sometimes they are referred to as liver spots. Now, they are not so-called because of liver problems but it is only believed to be caused by problems in liver functioning. To help not be confused with melanoma and moles here are sample images and pictures.
What causes age spots or liver spots?
Since they are influenced by the sun radiations, age spots can be a problem for anyone but those at risk are mostly the ones who love staying in the sun for longer durations without measures to protect skin against the harmful effects of sunrays.
Secondly, aging will be a possible cause and factor. In fact, it this due to aging these skin pots are referred to as aging spots.
NOTE: Age spots and liver functionality are not related to problems with liver function.
Age spots on shoulders, arms and legs
The hands and legs (especially the feet) are the other common areas for brown spots due to long-term exposure to UV radiation. The causes are the same factor discussed. According to current trends in fashion, statistics reveal that more women develop liver spots on shoulders than men do.
How to get rid of liver spots or age spots
In a wider majority of populations, age spots cause no health problems and may not necessitate treatment. It is however a concern for those who have personal issues such as feeling emotionally or psychologically disturbed by the hyper-pigmented sun spots on their arms, face, shoulders and legs.
According to Mayo Clinic, age spots can overwhelmingly cause uncertainty in detecting the symptoms of skin cancer. And this is arguably one of the reasons why anyone with raised dark skin spots is required to be keen and vigilant.
If you indeed feel the need to go for treatments or removal of age spots always consult your doctor. The following are some of the most common treatment procedures to get rid of the skin blemishes.
Topical products for removing age spots
Most topical products used to remove sun spots or solar lentigines are applied locally or superficially in the skin. They comprise creams and bleaching agents incorporated in skin lightening. This is as follows.
Age spots removal creams – Hydroqinone, Retinol
Before using creams to remove, age spots consult your physician. Most cream products for age spots are available and acquired over the counter are safe but they must be used with caution.
Retinoid is one of the renowned creams to deal with dark spots due to aging. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, complex mechanisms of retinoid contribute greatly to collagen impairing; allowing signaling to nearby cells by binding the nuclear receptors (intercellular communication). Retinoids also prevent further effects of photo-aging and formation of wrinkles.
There are various forms of retinoid products (i.e. Retinol, Adapalene, Alitretinoin,) but Retin A and Tretinoin are common topical. Like many chemical peels, retinoids should be prescribed by a medic or dermatologist. They are available in gel, lotions, solutions, creams and serums.
Hydroquinone is less effective for removing typical age spots but it is quite effective in fading them. However, highly concentrated products with hydroquinone are considered unsafe for long periods of use on skin.
These comprise procedures used to treat skin problems caused by increased melanin production or defects in melanin pigmentation. They include:
Laser therapy for age spots
Laser therapy is an optional treatment therapy for removing the brown or dark spots in the skin but it is costly. The cost and number of sessions for treating will be determined by the most suitable technique and your skin condition. There are different techniques for laser such as fractional laser,
Cryotherapy or cryosurgery
In this technique, liquid Nitrogen is used in freezing the individual spots on the skin. Cryotherapy is not only used to deal with age spots alone but also many other skin problems such as removal of skin warts, scars due to pimples, skin keratosis. Prior to this treatment patients should be evaluated to determine whether the technique is suitable for removing the age spots.
The use of chemical peels is yet another method of dealing with hyperpigmentation. Phenol, Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are examples of chemical peels. Both laser and chemical peeling aim at achieving resurfacing where a new youthful skin layer replaces the removed layer.
Going for dermatological consultation is recommended prior to any of these medical treatments. All medical treatment procedures must be done by a certified doctor on board to avoid skin complications such as scarring and burning which in the long run lead to delayed and prolonged healing.
What is the best treatment for age spots?
How fast can you get rid of age spots? There are a number of methods to remove or get rid of liver spots. However, removal techniques, side effects and healing periods are some of the crucial factors to put into consideration before evaluating the effectiveness of the treatments.
If applied well for some people, creams would produce wonderful results while they do not work for others. For how long have you had these spots? In fact, aged people find it harder to remove them.
Is laser treatment for age spots the best? Let us take another view. Suppose you went for laser treatment, high chances are that removing the brown pigments will be a success as long as the most suitable techniques are applied. However, without proper post-treatment care for individuals (esp. those with fairer skin), healing would be interfered with. In extreme cases, some people may end up with even more dark spots or uneven skin tone.
Home remedies – fading age spots on the skin
What do you use to fade the brown aging skin spots? Exfoliating products are not the only options for fading and lightening the age spots. If your skin looks unattractive you should also try these home remedies.
One undeniable truth about many natural products is that they have a slow machine and thus one needs to be patient but consistent. Moreover, these procedures are appropriate when you have just noticed brown spots starting to develop on your skin.
These are some of the easy and simple home tricks from DR. OZ.
There are a number of alternatives to using this natural product. The things (ingredients) you need for this home procedure are:
- Sandalwood powder,
- Vitamin E oil (choose your favorite)
- Lemon juice or orange juice
In your first procedure, add 2 tablespoonful sandalwood, 1tbsp. of lemon to a jar holding a small amount of glycerin. Mix well. Using your favorite cleanser, wash the affected area and let it dry. Now, apply your readymade pack and leave it to dry. Wash thereafter with cool water.
If you know lemon causes itching on skin, replace it with orange juice in more or less a similar procedure of preparation. Add a few drops of vitamin E oil. Apply the mixture you have prepared and massage gently for at most 10 minutes. Give it 20 minutes after massage. Wash off.
Another option is to apply on the face, neck and shoulder and leave it to stay overnight.
Buttermilk can also help lighten the brown spots. The good thing is that buttermilk is a hydrating product and is good since it does not cause irritation after applying even if you have sensitive skin.
Apply buttermilk directly on the spots with aid of a cotton ball. Apply at least twice every day. Otherwise, you may add 4 drops of lemon juice to buttermilk to enhance bleaching.
3. Lemon juice
The citric acid acts as a natural bleacher for skin pigments and blemishes. Before you can apply it, ensure your face is clean and that you have no open wounds on your face and other parts with sunspots. Do apply it on a small area before using it on parts with more sensitive skin such as the facial area.
If you can give this to yourself and do it consistently you can lighten the brown spots. All you need is fresh lemon fruit. Depending on your preferred mode of applying it you may extract its juice or just dab a slice of it directly onto the spots. And that is it.
4. Horseradish root remedy
Besides its ability to detoxify cancer-causing molecules, this root spice can also be mixed appropriately with some other natural ingredients to deal with age spots.
Grated horseradish root, lemon juice, vinegar and essential oil such as Rosemary.
In the procedure, you are required to mix these ingredients in a proportionate manner. If you know you have skin sensitive to lemon or vinegar, limit the amount or use drops of it.
As stated earlier age spots cause no harm and therefore should not be something to worry about unless for cosmetic reasons. If you start to notice lesions that grow larger and unusually in size or become raised questions should be raised. This is not time to take chances at all. To rule out any symptoms of melanoma spots and skin cancer, a skin biopsy test is mandatory.
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