If you’re noticing a few brown spots popping up on your face, body and hands, it’s likely they’re age spots (sometimes called sun spots, liver spots or solar lentigo). Whatever you want to call them, these small clusters of pigment can show up on your face and body after prolonged exposure to the sun. But don’t fret - the good news is that they’re usually relatively harmless and there are several ways to reduce their appearance. Happy days!
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What causes age spots?
Your skin produces melanin, which is a pigment that gives skin its colour (fun fact: melanin is also the pigment responsible for colouring your hair and eyes). To help protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, your body’s natural response is to start producing more melanin, which is why one may burn in the sun if not properly protected with an SPF50+ protection. Age spots form when excess melanin clumps together, and they can appear as either single spots or small clusters.
How to reduce the occurrence of age spots
To prevent age spots from forming in the first place, there are a few things you can do. Luckily, they’re all pretty simple (and you might already have the tools you need at home!).
- Cover up when you’re outdoors (Whatever the weather!) – this means wearing a long-sleeved top and hat at all times.
- Use a SPF 50+ sunscreen that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Try to limit the amount of time you spend outdoors, particularly between 10am and 3pm, as that’s when the sun is at its most powerful.
Self skin exams
While age spots themselves are typically harmless and don’t need medical treatment, they can look a lot like skin cancer. That’s why it’s important to regularly monitor the spots on your body and take note of any unusual changes. Things to look out for include new spots or spots that change colour or shape over a period of weeks or months, sores that are crusty and don’t heal, or spots that look different to others on your skin.
Please see your doctor for a more comprehensive check-up.
Can you reduce age spots?
The good news is that it is possible to reduce the appearance of age spots, and prevent new ones from forming. The best part? You can easily adopt these age spot reduction methods at home.
New spots may just be superficial, meaning they only go into the first few layers of your skin. A good exfoliator can help diminish shallow spots. Explore our exfoliators and cleansers here
Vitamin E, castor oil and aloe vera are powerful home remedies that nourish the skin and can even reduce the appearance of age spots. You might even have some aloe growing at home (or a neighbour who does!).
As with prevention, using a good sunscreen will help protect your skin from more damage. A broad spectrum sunscreen with a 50+ SPF can slow down the onset of further age spots, so make it a non-negotiable in your morning routine (your skin will thank you for it).