Age spots are normal, especially as you grow older. This is your body’s way of reacting to sun exposure as days become months. In most cases, you will start seeing these dark spots when you get to 50 years of age. Younger people with more exposure to sunlight can also have age spots. If you are not satisfied with the way age spots appear on your body, you can take some steps to eliminate them, including seeing your Houston skin specialist, and some of these steps are revealed in this piece.
Age Spot Symptoms
Age spots are common among people having light skin, even though they have the capability of affecting all types of skin. They are oval, flat areas of heightened pigmentation with black brown or tan color. You will usually see them on parts of your skin with the highest exposure to sunlight such as the face, tops of feet, backs of the hands, upper back and shoulders. They can appear as a small discoloration on your skin and can be as big as 13 millimeters in diameter. They can bunch up and this makes them to be more conspicuous.
When to see a doctor
Usually, age spots are not injurious but when they change in look or are too dark, it is advisable to see your Houston skin specialist so that they can be examined. Change in look may be symptoms of melanoma which is a severe type of skin cancer. A medical evaluation is necessary if a spot possesses an inconsistent border, coexists with redness, itching, bleeding or tenderness, darkly pigmented, proliferates rapidly, has an uncommon blend of colors and so on.
Age spots can be diagnosed through visual inspection. Your skin will be analyzed by your Houston skin specialist in order to determine the type and severity of the problem. Skin biopsy may also be carried out so that it will be established that you have an age spot. And not other conditions like lentigo maligna, which is a form of skin cancer.
At-home remedies for age spots
It is possible to treat age spots at home making use of topical medicated ointments. In order to get these ointments, your Houston skin specialist will need to prescribe them for you. In most cases, mild steroids, hydroquinone and retinoids are prescribed. Topical medications ensure that age spots are faded for many months.
Furthermore, it is advisable for you to always use a sunscreen containing sun protection factor (SPF) of a minimum of 30, particularly if you make use of more than one topical treatment. This will assist in the reduction of any extra damage that may come from sun rays.
It is important for you to take note that prescribed topical creams are very strong and may cause dryness, burning, redness or itching. Consequently, you should only make use of them when they are prescribed by a competent doctor and the prescription must be properly followed.
You can also get over the counter (OTC) topical creams to fix your age spots. You should look for products containing hydroquinone, kojic acid or glycolic acid. It is important for you to note that some of these topical creams can cause irritation for your skin, particularly the ones containing hydroquinone. If you don’t want to take risks with these creams, you can use makeups to hide your age spots.
In-office treatments for age spots
There are many treatment options available in the office of your Houston skin specialist which will treat your age spot faster than what you can get at home. Some popular options available are discussed below.
Laser and intense pulsed light therapy
This therapy is used to destroy cells that produce melanin without causing any harm to the surface of your skin. Usually, you will have to visit your dermatologist 2 to 3 times before you can achieve the best outcome from your treatment. After some weeks or months succeeding your treatment, you should be able to see the age spot fading.
However, there are some side effects associated with this therapy. You may experience discoloration lasting only a short while. The use of sunscreen may be required after your treatment. So that your skin will be properly protected from the harmful rays of the sun every day.
This treatment involves the use of liquid nitrogen to treat your age spot. It is applied with a cotton-tipped swab and the process will ensure that some of the pigments of your spots are destroyed. When your skin starts to heal up, the spots will become lighter. This approach is ideal for single age spot or small assemblage of spots. This treatment is usually less exposed to risk of permanent discoloration or scarring as well as impermanent skin irritation.
Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion
Dermabrasion is a treatment involving the sanding down of your skin’s surface layer with the aid of a fast-spinning brush. This helps in the removal of your skin’s surface layer so that a new one can be formed. You may require more than one visit to the office of your doctor before remarkable results can be achieved. Some of the side effects associated with this treatment include temporary redness as well as scabbing.
On the other hand, microdermabrasion is not as intense as dermabrasion. It is effective for making your age spot to look lighter and you may need more than one visit if you really want to get the best results. However, you need to be very careful with microdermabrasion if you have small red veins or rosacea on your face because the treatment can make them to appear worse.
Chemical peel involves the application of acid to your skin. So that the outer layer of your skin up to the age spot will be destroyed. There will be formation of new skin. So that the outer layer removed will be replaced. In order to see the best results, you may need to visit the doctor more than once. Side effects of the treatment include temporary redness and permanent change of the skin’s color.
Getting rid of your age spot will help your skin to look better. However, you should make sure that you book an appointment with a competent Houston skin specialist. So that you will be able to get the best result from your treatment.