Age spots, also known as dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and sunspots, are small, dark, and often flat areas on your skin. They are often visible on the sun-exposed parts of your body. However, sun exposure is not the only cause behind them. Factors such as aging and genetics also come into play.
Regardless of the causes, they often appear uninvited. Even though they won’t hurt you, the option of treating them is still available. Treatment can prevent new spots from developing or help the existing ones fade over time. Here are a few treatment options for age spots.
Skin-Lightening Creams and Lotions
Topical creams are one of the most common methods to lighten age spots. However, some products contain mercury which can be harmful to your health. Therefore, consult your healthcare professional and have them prescribe a safe product. Most topical cream prescriptions may contain hydroquinone, cortisone, and retinoids. These creams work to lighten your spots over time.
WHile some people may use skin lighteningng creams for the removal of age spots, anything with the following ingredients can be hazardous to health.
- Mercury oxide
- Mercury salts
- Mercuric amidochloride
- Hydrargyri oxydum rubrum
Some of them may also irritate the skin, so discussing side effects beforehand would help you decide on a product better. Apart from lightening creams, certain cosmetic procedures can also treat or lighten age spots. However, discussing options with your dermatologist before undergoing a procedure will help you decide better.
Cryosurgery is one of the most effective treatments for the removal of age spots. It freezes them with a liquid nitrogen solution, peeling your dark skin off from the body. If an experienced professional performs the procedure, it can prove to be a quick and effective treatment for age spots.
Prior to the procedure, a dermatologist will determine a patient’s medical history and proceed to conduct a physical exam. This is where patients can discuss risks, outcomes, and expectations associated with the procedure.
Even though avoiding aspirin and blood thinners for a certain amount of time before the procedure is the norm, details can vary depending on your condition. Your doctor may also recommend taking an anti-biotic half an hour before the procedure.
Some temporary side effects include:
Another highly credible option for the removal of age spots is laser resurfacing or laser peeling. It removes the upper layers of skin by using a wand-like laser instrument to reveal newer cells. Moreover, it gives you a more even appearance by promoting collagen production in your skin.
As per the standard, a dermatologist usually reviews the patient’s medical history and proceeds for a physical exam where all the risks and outcomes are discussed. Usually, dermatologists recommend to avoid medications that affect blood clotting, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or vitamin E, for at least ten days before the surgery.
Laser resurfacing, just like any other treatment, also has risks associated with it, such as:
Dermabrasion refers to the surgical planing or sanding of the skin’s outer layer. It can be a great choice for the removal of age spots as the treated area appears refreshed and smoother. The results often last longer than the other options.
Make sure to discuss the potential risks and outcomes of the procedure as your dermatologist reviews your medical history before doing a physical exam. Dermabrasion candidates are usually expected to stop taking medications, such as aspirin, at least a week prior to the procedure. They might have to skip using some skincare products and limit sun exposure.
Potential side effects of dermabrasion include:
- Tissue damage
- Loss of skin color
Experts recommend avoiding sun exposure and cleansing the site several times a day after the procedure.
Chemical peeling is among some of the most popular options for the removal of age spots. As the name suggests, the procedure involves using a chemical solution to remove your old skin’s outer layer. The new skin that appears is usually less wrinkled and smoother in appearance. It is often recommended for fair-skinned individuals.
It’s important to discuss all risks, outcomes, and expectations associated with chemical peels when you’re discussing your medical history with the professional. Moreover, experts recommend avoiding any supplements or medication that affects blood clotting, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or Vitamin E, for ten days prior to the surgery. They may also be told to avoid medications such as Renova or glycolic acid and Retin-A.
Potential side effects of chemical peels include:
- Blisters (expected to peel off within seven to fourteen days)
- Reactivation of cold sores
- Permanent or temporary change in skin color (especially for women who have a history of facial discoloration after being on birth control pills and subsequently becoming pregnant)
Patients might be asked to avoid direct exposure to sunlight for a couple of months. Light peels are also repeated in intervals of one to four weeks, while people repeat medium peels every six to twelve months.
While there are many ways to deal with age spots, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each method based on what would suit your skin best. Many factors come into play when choosing a treatment option, which is why we recommend acting on your dermatologist’s opinion.