The natural aging process of the skin brings along with it a variety of noticeable signs. One of these signs is age spots. Mostly seen in people above the age of 40, these unappealing marks can also be seen in people as young as in their 20s or 30s. Let us understand what age spots are and how they are caused before we move on to discussing the various medical and/or cosmetic procedures available at skin clinics in India to remove age spots.
What Are Age Spots?
Flat marks or spots on your skin that are brown to black in color are called age spots. They are referred to as liver spots, sun spots, solar lentigines or just lentigines as well. They are usually circular in shape.
What Causes Age Spots?
The main mechanism behind the formation and appearance of age spots is the melanin production in the skin, which occurs due to the sunlight exposure that the skin bears over the years. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes an increase in melanin production, which clumps together and leads to the formation of these flat, brown/black spots. This is the primary cause of age spot formation.
UV radiation from not just the sun but also from artificial sources like tanning beds can increase the incidence of age spot development. The natural aging process can also contribute to their formation. They are often seen in people who have light or fair skin and are more constantly and repeatedly exposed to sunlight.
What Are The Symptoms Of Age Spots?
Though age spots are most frequently seen in fair-skinned people, other skin types can also be present them with age or excessive sunlight exposure. The identification of age spots can be done by keeping this signs and symptoms in mind –
- Flat, oval spots that are darker than the surrounding skin
- Size can range between 10 mm to 13 mm (similar to the size of freckles)
- Usually brown or black in color (can also be tan colored)
- Found on skin areas that are most exposed to sunlight
- Painless spots
If these spots increase in size rapidly and have an irregular border, it is best to get them checked by a dermatologist. If itchiness, redness, pain, and/or bleeding is present, consult a dermatologist immediately for a thorough analysis and diagnosis.
On Which Areas Of The Body Can One See Age Spots?
The areas of the skin that receive the most direct sunlight are the areas where age spots are often found. These include the following –
- Age spots on the face
- Age spots on the back of your hands
- Spots on the shoulders and upper back
- Age spots on the forearms
Treatments To Remove Age Spots
Now that we know the age spot causes and where they are most often found, let us now look at the age spot treatments that you can opt for.
Laser Treatments For Age Spots
The energy from the laser beam enters the skin and targets the pigmented, dark spots (age spots). The pigment in these spots gets broken down into tiny fragments, and these fragments are eliminated from the body by the immune system. This non-invasive treatment shows results right after the first session, and after a few sessions, a drastic difference can be observed. Laser therapy does not damage the surrounding skin and only targets the liver spots.
Read More: Laser Treatments
Chemical Peel For Age Spots
A chemical peel utilizes acids extracted from natural sources to exfoliate the top layers of the skin. Depending on the intensity of the age spots, the dermatologist suggests the type and concentration of the peel to be used. As the top layer gets removed, the new and lighter skin present below it comes to the surface. With chemical peels, more sessions may be required to see strong changes in your age spots. Also, proper sun protection during the course of the treatment is mandatory as the peels can make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
Read More: Chemical Skin Peels
Dermabrasion For Age Spots
Like chemical peels, dermabrasion therapy also involves exfoliating the top layers of the skin. In this treatment, a rotating brush is used along with a vacuum suction instead of the facial acid used in chemical peels. The newer skin is brought to the surface that has lighter spots than before. Repetitive sessions may be advised by the skin specialist to achieve the desired results.
Cryosurgery For Age Spots
The age spots on the skin are frozen using liquid nitrogen (applied with a cotton swab). Once this frozen skin heals, lighter skin replaces it. This treatment therapy is safe for use for single spots usually. The chances of the healed skin being discolored are higher with cryosurgery when compared to the other treatments.
While age spots are not a harmful skin condition, they can ruin the look especially when they are present on the face. The treatments mentioned are frequently employed to remove age spots from the face.
Also Read: Best Anti Aging Tips & Treatments
How Much Does Age Spots Treatment Cost In India?
The cost of treating age spots in India ranges between Rs. 5000 to Rs. 20000 per session, when using a combination treatment that includes peel, laser, HIFU and intragen. However the overall cost varies depending on the factors like skin type, age, underlying health conditions, strength of pigmentation, etc.
How To Prevent Age Spots?
Here are some tips that you can follow to lighten, remove, and even prevent age spots –
- Topical medications available over the counter that contain skin lightening ingredients like kojic acid and hydroquinone may help to fade away the lighter age spots.
- Excessive sun exposure is best avoided. Additionally, another point to keep in mind is to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. as the sun’s rays are the strongest during this period.
- Use sun protection agents such as sunscreen and sunblock every time you step out in the sun. A sunscreen with an SPF 40 and above is suggested for preventing age spots. Apply it 20 minutes before stepping out into the sun.
- Use a sunscreen that has UVA and UVB protection agents included in it.
- Do not forget to reapply sunscreen every three to four hours as its effect tends to fade away.
- To avoid sun spots on the lips, use lipstick or lip balm that has an SPF of 15 at least.
- Wear hats, scarves, pants, and long-sleeved shirts to keep your skin protected from direct exposure to sunlight. Do this in conjunction with the sunscreen application.
Age spots or liver spots are more common in the Indian population than you think. It is important to identify them and treat them using the right methods for their efficient removal. If you decide to go in for a cosmetic treatment, make sure to get the procedure done at a reputed clinic and by a certified dermatologist.