Age Spots | Lentigines | Sun Spots
For women, dark spots require extra effort with extra make-up in the morning before leaving home. It also definitively affects self-confidence because you may think that everyone is looking at you. It also significantly makes the skin look older and hence why dark spots or hyperpigmentation spots are also called the “age spots”. Furthermore, let’s not forget the damaging effects excessive sun exposure has on the collagen and elasticity of the skin, leading to early wrinkle and fine line appearance, early skin sagging and definitely premature ageing .
The term ‘age spots’, or lentigines, refers to the brownish spots that, over time appear on your face and body as a result of over exposure to the sun. The experts at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin explain that as we age our skin is subjected to more and more sun damage. Our skin has what is called ‘melanin pigment’ which absorbs sunlight and helps naturally protect our skin from UV rays. However as we age, our skin’s natural ability to fend off UV rays from the sun begins to deteriorate, and as a result, we see the development of age spots. These age spots can be effectively treated with lasers.
Removing discoloration is not an easy task to do, but the advances in current aesthetic medicine and laser technology are making it possible without any downtime and minimal to no side effects for practically any skin tone. There are a couple different types of brown spots that people get on their skin. There are solar lentigos (age spots) and freckles (known as ephelides). These come from the sun and that’s because the sun damages the melanocytes, which are the cells in the epidermis (the skin’s surface layer) that produce melanin pigment. Most of the cells in our epidermis are skin cells that form the dead skin layer as well as keratin that protects us from the outside world, but one in every tenth or twentieth cell is a melanocyte which produces melanin pigment and transfers this brown pigment to our skin cells to help protect us against the sun.
Skin Changes causing Age Spots
There are a couple different types of brown spots that people get on their skin. There are solar lentigos (age spots) and freckles (known as ephelides). These come from the sun and that’s because the sun damages the melanocytes, which are the cells in the epidermis (the skin’s surface layer) that produce melanin pigment. Most of the cells in our epidermis are skin cells that form the dead skin layer as well as keratin that protects us from the outside world, but one in every tenth or twentieth cell is a melanocyte which produces melanin pigment and transfers this brown pigment to our skin cells to help protect us against the sun.
Some people have almost no melanin pigment and our skin does not do a good job of protecting us from the sun. Dark-skinned people do a much better job of protecting themselves from the sun. When the sun attacks me and other light-skinned people, my body does not know how to respond properly. As a result it can cause abnormal melanin pigment in the form of freckles and brown spots.
Sun Spot vs. Age Spots
‘Age Spots’ actually have nothing to do with how old you are, they have to do with how long you’ve been in the sun. I prefer the term ‘sun spot’ rather than ‘liver spot’ or ‘age spot’ because that is what they are from and is more appropriate. While these spots aren’t cancerous, they can be unsightly. There’s no medical reason to remove them, but you may choose to get rid of them to improve your self-esteem and your skin health. Age spots don’t go away on their own. They require diagnosis by qualified doctor. Treatments help lighten or even get rid of these dark pigmentation.
The most important thing if you see any pigmented lesion on your skin is to not assume that it’s benign. If you notice a lesion on your skin, especially if it has any changes in color or shape, you should see a dermatologist to determine if they are cancerous or something to be concerned about.
You may need to have a biopsy performed to determine if the lesion is benign or not. Once the doctor has determined that it is benign, there are a variety of lasers that can be used to improve or remove it.
Tanning + Age Spots
Tan skin is not healthy skin. A tan is our body’s way of telling us our skin has been damaged, and its attempt to protect itself from further damage. As we undergo UVA and UVB light exposure from the sun’s rays or from tanning beds, we are damaging our skin, which will lead to age spots (solar lentigines), sun spots, liver spots, poikiloderma (reddish–brown areas of discoloration) and melasma (mottled brownish areas).
Age Spots Prevention
Preventing age spots requires sun avoidance and sun protection. Most of the sun damage we receive occurs while we are driving. Car window glass protects us from 100% of the UVB light (the light which causes a burn) but none of the UVA, the light responsible for sun damage and aging skin. I advise all of my patients to have UVA-protecting film installed on their car windows. This may be tinted or clear. This will help prevent much of the sun damage which causes age, liver, or brown spots.
The second thing we recommend at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic Dublin is to wear Demani Skincare Protect SPF50 sunscreen. Even if you already have sun damaged skin, it’s never too late to start. This will help prevent further damage and age spotting.
Pigmentation Treatment Options
It used to take a lot of effort and it involved daily bleaching creams and sunblocks to control skin pigmentation. Remedies which can cause a lot of skin irritation and a long recovery downtime. For ethnic skin, risk with laser technology, because all lasers were designed for pale skin and not darker tones. Removing discoloration is not an easy task to do, but the advances in current aesthetic medicine and laser technology are making it possible without any downtime and minimal to no side effects for practically any skin tone.
Photofacial treatment is quick and painless. Most patients describe the fotofacial light pulses as a ‘snapping’ sensation, which causes mild discomfort at most. After the treatment, there may be some redness for a few days, but that quickly fades and the patient can enjoy the effects of blemish-free skin. When interchanged with alternate light bandwidth, the effect is gentle stimulation of one’s own collagen and elastin production.
Illuminate is a prescription-strength skin brightening serum from Demani Skincare. It works by decreasing the formation of melanin in your skin, which is the cause of the brown discoloration. Illuminate is a skin serum used at home; it requires no preparation and is applied twice daily. Use it with skin soothing cleansers to avoid complications. It isn’t painful, although you should stop using it if you experience any of these side effects.
Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is proven to be a valuable method for facial rejuvenation for photo-damaged skin. The laser yields detectable improvement of fine lines and wrinkles as well as rejuvenation of mottled pigmentation, rough skin texture, and UV damage. Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing can eradicate precancerous growths such as actinic keratosis, although prevention of future development of actinic keratosis has not been substantiated.
Retinol work to reduce the appearance of age spots by helping the skin renew and heal itself. We recommend Demani Skincare R+ 1% Retinol Serum. Some people are sensitive to retinoids. We advise using a small amount of the serum on your skin, twice weekly and gradually build up tolerance.