The older you are and the more time you have spent in the sun, the more likely you are to develop age spots. These small discolorations are also known as liver spots and can be unsightly or even embarrassing. Besides not recognizing them, many people don't understand what they are or why they have popped up. Once you can identify them by their most common characteristics and learn how to protect your skin, you can do something about them.
What Is An Age Spot? Here are some common characteristics of age spots:
- They're typically brown, tan or black in color
- They have an oval, flat appearance
- Age spots can appear on the face, the backs of hands, feet, upper back and shoulders, or any area of the skin that is subject to sun exposure
- These blemishes range from the size of a tiny freckle to half an inch or more. Sometimes they're lumped together which makes them more conspicuous
- They're painless and have the same texture as your skin
- Concealer makeup does not usually adhere well to them, making them a bit difficult to camouflage
- Even though you can't always prevent them, you can lower the likelihood of getting age spots by staying out of the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when sunlight is at its strongest.
- Wearing sunscreen is critical. Be sure your sunscreen has an SPF rating of at least 30 or higher and offers both UVA and UVB protection. Sunscreen should be applied at least one half hour prior to sun exposure and then reapplied every two hours. If you swim or perspire heavily, you need to apply your sunscreen more frequently.
- Cover up! Protective clothing is important. While being exposed to sunlight, wearing long-sleeved shirts, hats and pants can help protect your skin. Better yet: invest in sun-protective clothing that has an SPF. This is clothing whose fabric has an extra dense construction, preventing light from passing through it. Sometimes a special chemical is added during the manufacturing process to boost its efficacy against sunlight. (If you are sensitive to chemicals you should test this out before buying it). Even though all fabrics disrupt UV radiation to some degree, if you spend extended time outdoors, are fair-skinned or are sensitive in general to the sun, you could definitely benefit from wearing clothing that carries an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).
Considerations and Warnings
Although most age spots are usually seen in people over the age of 50, younger people can develop them too.
Age spots are usually not life threatening but you should see your doctor if you notice any changes in an age spot's appearance. For example, if your spot is growing in size, has a darker pigment than normal or an irregular border, becomes red, bleeds or itches, this could indicate the presence of a skin cancer known as melanoma, making a visit to the doctor for accurate diagnosis critical.
For a safe, gentle way to fade normal age spots click on this link and watch La Ishá Natural Skin Care's instructional video on How To Get Rid Of Age Spots.