How to Erase Dark Spots

Dark spots around the eyes and face, also known as age spots, sun spots, liver spots, or solar lentigines, are a completely natural part of the aging process for men and women over the age of 40.

Usually gray, brown, or black, and varying in size, dark spots are most commonly found on the areas exposed to excess sunlight and are often harmless from a medical standpoint, according to the Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately, they are still seen as an unsightly nuisance by the legions of women who do not want to be confronted with the fact that they are getting older on a daily basis.

It is due to this that practically an entire cottage industry of treatments for dark spots has blossomed within the field of dermatology. From home remedies to medical procedures, men and women today have a number of options for getting rid of any dark spots they’d rather not have around.

Sun Protection

It may not be of much help once age spots have already begun appearing on your face and hands. But to prevent getting any more it is best to stay out of the sun as much as possible. If staying out of the sunlight during peak hours is impossible, it is best to apply copious amounts of sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing, which can help limit exposure to harmful rays.

So why must men and women over 40 worry about seeing dark spots after too much rays, when their younger peers don’t? Blame it on the melanin, which produces at an increased rate in the skin due to UV light, and produces dark spots when it becomes “clumped” over time.

Skin Bleaching

For patients hoping to erase dark spots with the use of an at-home product, one of the most common options is using a form of “bleach.” Ingredients such as hydroquinone work to stop the production of melanin in the skin, which in turn decreases the likelihood of dark skin spots. In addition, some people choose to use a hydroquinone cream together with other agents such as tretinoin or cortisone cream, while others choose a stronger prescription remedy such as Retin-A.

Although over-the-counter bleaching creams are relatively safe, they may not be strong enough for many people. And while prescription agents such as Retin-A are usually strong enough to help fade even the darkest of spots, they also come with a variety of possible side effects such as redness, drying, and peeling of the skin. In addition, prescription options are much more expensive.

Chemical Peels

After bleaching, the next most popular option for treating dark spots is chemical peels. When given by dermatologists or trained spa technicians, chemical peels can remove signs of age spots—as well as skin discoloration and wrinkles—in as little as an hour, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Unfortunately, not everyone reacts to chemical peels in the same manner, and deep peels done with harsh chemicals may be harmful to certain skin types. While “lunch time” peels performed using glycolic acid are generally considered safe for all adults, it may take a series of treatments over the course of a month before patients see full results in regards to the fading of sun spots.

Dermabrasion

Often used to treat acne scars, dermabrasion can also be used to treat sun spots and other skin discolorations as well by essentially “sanding down” the skin’s surface with a rotating brush. The technique of dermabrasion is can be used over large surfaces, including hands, arms, and obviously the face. The downside of the technique, however, is that patients commonly experience redness and temporary scabbing afterwards, forcing patients who undergo it to wait a full eight to 12 days before returning to a normal appearance.

Laser Resurfacing

For anyone looking for a dramatic fix and unafraid of a little pain, laser resurfacing is an in-office treatment that can deliver dramatic results. With the help of a laser, dermatologists can burn off dark spots—along with wrinkles and fine lines—in as little as one treatment. Even better, the results of laser resurfacing can last up to five years for some patients.

As with any procedure involving laser therapy, however, undergoing resurfacing can be especially painful, as redness, peeling, and scabbing may occur in the days following the procedure. Additionally, laser resurfacing can be among the most costly option for treating dark spots, with treatments costing $1,000 to $5,000 per session.

The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.

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