Age spots are sometimes referred to as liver spots. This is an older term that originated because the pigmentation was thought to be the result of liver issues. However this relationship has been disproven.
Age spots also go by other names which are more accurate:
- sun spots
- brown spots
- solar lentignes.
They are usually tan, brown, or dark brown in color and flat in texture. Sometimes they occur as individual dots. And they can also manifest in clusters.
Causes of Age Spots?
In warm climate places like Los Angeles, age spots are among the many symptoms of excessive sun exposure. Active lifestyles often celebrate and embrace the sun. However more people are learning that excessive sun exposure puts them at risk for premature aging signs like age spots and wrinkles.
As we get older, our skin loses its ability to recover after being exposed to UV rays from the sun. It starts to produce melanin which functions as a type of sunscreen in order to protect itself.
Age spots can also occur in individuals younger than 40 if their skin has experienced prolonged sun exposure on a regular basis. Some people are genetically more susceptible to developing age spots more than others.
LOS ANGELES AGE SPOT TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
How to Treat Age Spots
Those who are interested in how to get rid of age spots should gain a basic understanding of how they are caused in the first place.
Age spots are basically concentrated areas of melanin pigment. They are produced by melanocytes embedded within the epidermis. Again, sunlight is the main instigating factor for this development.
The right treatments will work to break up the pigment and address the activity level of the melanocyte cells in the skin.
This can be accomplished by topical treatments and lasers.
- Use of Hydroquinone for Age Spots
Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent that works by inhibiting an enzyme called tyronsinase which is used to make melanin. This occurs within melanocyte cells which secrete melanin. The inhibition of tyrosinase results in the breakdown of melanosomes (granules in the melanocytes that contain the pigment) .
Hydroquinone is available over the counter in the United States in concentrations up to 2%. Stronger concentrations up to 4% are available by prescription only.
- Lasers for the treatment of Age Spots
The use of cosmetic lasers is a much faster way to eliminate age spots. Lasers are able to break up melanin so that the pigment can be eliminated by the body’s blood and lymphatic system. As opposed to just inhibiting the activity level of the melanocytes, the light energy can destroy these cells.
There are two families of lasers that are effective for this purpose:
- Fraxel Lasers for Age Spots
While there are several different laser systems in the Fraxel family, Fraxel Dual is ideal for the purpose of removing age spots. It uses two modalities of wavelengths. The 1927nm wavelength (Also available as a stand-alone system called Fraxel Re:Fine) can treat superficial pigmentation issues. The 1550nm wavelength can treat pigments that originate from deeper layers of the skin.
Both these wavelengths are safe for patients of all skin colors
This Los Angeles patient received Fraxel Dual treatments to remove brown spots and improve her complexion.
- Spectra Laser for Age Spots
The Spectra Laser is an Nd:YAG laser that uses the 1064nm wavelength. This longer wavelength is suitable for patients with darker skin as well as certain types of pigmented lesions that may be difficult to treat with other types of lasers.
The Spectra laser can be used in combination with Fraxel in some cases. This combination of treatments is what another Los Angeles patient received for improving the appearance of her age spots. She managed to get remarkable results after a single procedure.
Each laser system uses a different wavelength which is ideally suited for specific cases. The choice of laser depends on what type of pigment is involved, the skin type of the individual and whether or not the age spots are located close to the surface, or in deeper layers.
How To Prevent Age Spots
Being proactive about protecting the skin from excessive UV exposure is the best way to prevent age spots from developing. Here are some general ways to take precautions:
- Sunscreen for preventing Age Spots
Sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher should be applied on a daily basis. This will not only prevent age spots, but wrinkles and other forms of premature aging as well.
- Avoiding Excessive Sun Exposure to Prevent Age Spots
Avoiding the sun does not necessarily involve staying indoors all the time. Sun bathing has been a popular pastime and a way to achieve a golden tan, especially in Los Angeles where people have easy access to warm weather and the beach. Exercising outdoors when the sun is at its peak is another lifestyle practice that can facilitate damage to the skin.
While sunlight should not be completely avoided, exposure should be moderate and taken into account with the use of the right sunscreen and protective clothing.
- Applying UV Protection Film To Car Windows to Prevent Age Spots
What many people do not realize is that UVA rays behave differently from UVB rays. UVB rays cause sunburns. But UVA rays cause wrinkles and age spots. Sitting in traffic on a hot day in warm climate cities like here in Los Angeles can also increase the risk of photodamage to your skin. UVA film can be professionally applied to car windows to keep your skin protected.
Click here to read more about treatment with the Fraxel laser.