Why do age spots appear and how to get rid of them?

Photo by Chermiti Mohamed on Unsplash

Dark spots that appear on the skin spoil the appearance and add years.

What are age spots
Hyperpigmentation is an uneven distribution of melanin pigment in the skin (in fact, it is he who gives the skin color). If you have freckles, you are familiar with this situation: it is genetically developed that in your skin, in some areas, there are clusters of cells that produce more melanin than others.

But freckles look cute and have been present since childhood, that is, their owners have time to get used to their peculiarities. Pigmented spots are another matter entirely. Often they appear suddenly, have a large uneven shape, and require dense tonal means to mask, which is not suitable for everyone.

The reason for the appearance of spots is a malfunction, as a result of which some of the skin cells begin to produce more melanin than before. Hyperpigmentation by itself is not harmful. But it is a symptom of some changes in the body. Which, in turn, can be both neutral in terms of health and quite dangerous.

What causes age spots
Failure of skin cells most often occurs for the following reasons.

  1. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation
    Ultraviolet light irritates melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for melanin production. Normally, this results in an even tan. But if you stimulate cells with an active sun often and a lot, some of them “go crazy” and begin to produce melanin day and night in horse doses.

Pigmented spots are frequent companions of fans of tanning salons and tanning beds.

  1. Injuries to the skin, including sunburn
    Sunburn is actually a defense mechanism. With the help of melanin, our body protects itself from ultraviolet radiation, which is killing for it: this dark pigment creates a kind of barrier around the skin cells that scatters dangerous UVB rays.

The areas where the skin is damaged, from the point of view of the body, need maximum protection. That is why melanocytes go into a mode of maximum activity, and damaged skin (it doesn’t matter if you scratched your knee or walked under the sun and now your nose is flaking) darkens much more vigorously than neighboring areas.

  1. Hormonal changes
    Melanin production is also regulated by hormones. Pregnancy, birth control pills, and certain endocrine disorders can alter hormonal levels. As a result, age spots appear.
  2. Age
    Over the years, the skin becomes thinner and melanocyte cells in some of its areas are almost at the surface. If in adolescence and youth the small doses of melanin produced by them were hidden under the layer of the skin and were invisible, then closer to old age they appear. This is how age spots appear.
  3. Taking some medications
    For example, tetracycline antibiotics, retinoids, and chemotherapy drugs.
  4. Malfunctions of internal organs
    The appearance of age spots is often a distress signal from the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and other organs of the gastrointestinal tract.

How to start treating age spots
What doctors do not recommend is self-medication. It is only justified if you know exactly where the stain came from. For example, if pigmentation appears at the burn site.

The right decision is to go to a dermatologist with your spots. He will examine your skin, inquire about your lifestyle and medications, and look at your medical record to check for any underlying medical conditions. In some cases, you may be asked to have a biopsy to rule out the risk of developing melanoma.

Remember one thing: there is no point in treating age spots until you know the reasons for their appearance.

If pigmentation is associated with internal problems of the body, first you need to cure them. Otherwise, the spots will appear over and over again.

How to get rid of age spots
But, let’s say, everything is fine with your “inner world”, and the spots have appeared for generally harmless reasons. In this case, you can start fighting with them.

In fact, there are only two ways to get rid of age spots.

Make the skin firmer, fuller
The goal is to enlarge the skin layer above the melanocytes by hiding the pigment. This can be achieved as follows:

Thoughtfully approach the choice of everyday cosmetics. You need products that provide powerful moisturizing and nourishing benefits.
Establish a drinking regimen so that the body in general and the skin, in particular, receive the required amount of fluid.

Remove age spots
This can be done in different ways: from simple (and, unfortunately, not that effective) home to professional.

Absolutely all methods injure the skin. Therefore, when dealing with age spots, it is important to avoid the sun or use a cream with SPF-50.

Otherwise, you will not win but only aggravate the pigmentation.

Hence an important recommendation: it is best to start the fight against unaesthetic stains in the fall. Thus, injured skin is less likely to encounter direct sunlight.

  1. Whitening creams and ointments
    These products contain hydroquinone and retinoic acid – substances that provide the skin with easy exfoliation and accelerate cell regeneration. Do not buy these drugs yourself. Check with a dermatologist to avoid possible skin irritation.
  2. Whitening masks
    You can find similar cosmetic products in supermarkets and pharmacies. But many also use homemade masks made from available products.

The main secret of effectiveness: the mask must contain acid.

Below are some recipes for such masks, which are highly praised in all kinds of forums.

Yeast mask with lemon

Dissolve 20 g of yeast with 1 tablespoon of warm milk. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply the mixture to the face for 10 minutes, rinse thoroughly. Some recommend applying a cold compress (gauze soaked in cold water) after the mask to soothe the skin.

Whitening mask with lemon and honey

Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with honey in a 1: 1 ratio. Apply to a cleanly washed face, rinse off with warm water after 20 minutes.

Whitening kefir mask

Curdled milk and unsweetened yogurt are also good options. Just apply kefir on the area with age spots for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with a couple of drops of lemon juice with water to remove the oily film from the skin.

  1. Mesotherapy
    This is the name for subcutaneous injections with special bleaching drugs. The same cream, but more effective. In one procedure, you can seriously lighten the age spots, however, it will take several sessions to get rid of it completely.
  2. Microdermabrasion
    Many people try to get rid of stains using scrubs. Microdermabrasion is generally the same scrub, but instrumental. With the help of a special attachment, the beautician “polishes” the skin, removing the top layer damaged by the pigment.
  3. Chemical peels
    The essence of the procedure is to apply a chemically active composition to the skin, most often based on an acid: glycolic, lactic, tartaric, malic, and so on. This composition allows you to dissolve and remove the surface layer of the skin in which the pigment has settled. In addition, peels stimulate cell renewal. Such procedures can only be performed by a professional cosmetologist!
  4. Laser therapy
    A laser beam with a certain wavelength selectively acts on cells stained with pigment, without injuring others. Melanin is destroyed by the laser. This method is considered one of the most effective: if the pigmentation area is not very large, you can do it with one procedure.

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