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Age spots can appear any time from your thirties on – yet some women don’t get them until well into their fifties or sixties and may even escape them altogether.

No matter when you first notice them – most women hate to see those darker patches on their skin. It’s not just the fact age spots don’t look good – we associate them with aging and they seem like a constant reminder that we aren’t so young as we once were.

The truth is that age spots have very little to do with aging – they are small patches of hyperpigmentation from sun exposure and we get more of them as we age because our skin tends to have been more and more exposed to the sun the older we get.

The more time you spend out in the sun during your life the more chance you have of getting age spots – golfers, gardeners, and general fresh air fiends are all more at risk. Naturally the risk is worse if you live in a generally sunny climate – California or Florida say or most parts of Australia – the more sunlight hours the worse for your skin unfortunately.

Nowadays we are all educated to take care of our skin in the sun – most of us know we need to wear sunblock to protect from UV damage and many women wear a moisturizer or makeup base with a built in sunscreen. The problem is for many of us that the damage may have been done years ago – long before sun protection became the norm – and sun damage takes years to emerge.

Heavy sun exposure over the years – more delicate or more vulnerable skin will result in earlier age spots. The thinner skinned areas on your face and body will likely show the damage first – the backs of hands, around the eyes and the chest area.

Genetics also matter as in most things – if your parents had little sun damage despite a life outdoors then it is likely you may inherit their inbuilt resistance. Diet and lifestyle matter too – a high antioxidant diet with plenty of flavonoids from highly colored fruit and vegetables increases your bodies ability to resist the damage from free radicals like UV rays. Smoking on the other hand does the opposite.

Most age spots are painless and harmless – there’s no health risk.
On the other hand – most of us hate the look of them and they can make us feel self conscious about the way we look. Don’t put up with age spots if you are unhappy – taking action to deal with them can be a huge boost to your self esteem. Here’s a quick guide to your options for age spots treatment:

1. Topical treatments: Your first option would be to look at a cream with a high strength active ingredient for removing age spots. One route to go is a fade cream – a topical treatment that contains a skin lightening agent. In America fade creams typically contain hydroquinone but in Europe hydroquinone is not an approved ingredient and so natural alternatives like liquorice extract are often used to lighten the skin.

Alternatively topical remedies would be creams and serums with high strength ingredients to accelerate skin cell renewal. at high concentration, vitamin C serums or skin care formulations with high levels of glycolic acid are all used to treat age spots. The appearance of hyperpigmentation is likely to lessen over time with these remedies.

The effect of a skin lightening cream or fade cream will be gradual so they become less noticeable over time. The effect of a good fade cream will be greater if combined with otheranti aging products – face serums or skin peels and exfoliants which all work together to reduce the age spots.

Quality brands like skinceuticals, Skin Medica and Obagi sell high strength products in kits which are a very effective way of repairing and restoring sun damaged skin.

2. Skin resurfacing treatments: your options for removing age spots includechemical peels and microdermabrasion. You need to find a good skin clinic and discuss the best approach but bear in mind that skin peels and exfoliation are not targeted treatments – they will resurface the skin over the whole of your face. Deeper or darker areas of hyperpigmentation is unlikely to be removed this way.

3. Laser treatments: Increasingly nowadays laser treatments are seen as the best way of removing age spots – especially where they are more severe. Laser resurfacing works in a simular way to achemical peel by removing the outer layers of skin including the age spots or hyperpigmentation. The difference is that lasers are precisely targeted and can be directed to only the dark area of skin avoiding the unaffected skin around it. There is a downside to this precision though. The skin that grows back over the age spot after removal is likely to be much lighter than the skin around it. Instead of a dark age spot you could have a lighter spot where the hyperpigmentation has been removed. This new skin will need high sun protection and may take a while to blend in so you have even skin tone. If you have laser treatment on your face then you can use make up to achieve an even skin color and tone – but the effect of age spot removal will be more visible on other areas like your hands.

4. Cover them up: If you don’t want to spend too much money on trying to get rid of your age spots – you can always hide them from view. You’ll need a heavy duty high pigment concealer – or try a makeup made for hiding scars or skin blemishes. Match to your overall skin tone and blend with a brush before applying your normal makeup and blusher. Concealer is a good option for age spots on your face and decollete but won’t work on your hands or other areas where makeup would rub off.

Spending money on effective treatment to remove age spots is well worth it – but don’t forget to protect your skin from further damage.

Apply an anti aging sun block before heading outdoors – whatever the weather. Look out for moisturizers and make up with high SPF and make sure your sun block has both UVA and UVB protection. Boost your diet, stop smoking, moderate alcohol intake and treat your skin with the best anti aging skin care you can afford.

Age spots don’t have to make you look older than you feel.