Age spots (these are sometimes called liver spots or solar lentigines) typically appear on the fair skinned and mainly on hands, legs, arms, décolletage and face. They are a result of overactive pigment cells and sun exposure. And they get worse with age.
Although they are harmless, we know no-one who is happy to have them.
As with many things, prevention is better than cure. The consistent use of a reputable and effective sunscreen and covering up and staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day is the key to avoiding sun
Sometimes this is easier said than done and for those of us that have bypassed prevention and in need of a “cure” there are a variety of effective treatments available.
Cryosurgery has been around for over a century and is often used to treat age spots. It involves freezing the dark spots with a liquid nitrogen solution at a temperature of -196 degrees which results in the pigment peeling off the skin. It is very effective but not without possible side-effects; it can cause blistering and swelling, and the treated area may have less pigment than the surrounding skin. This procedure should only be carried out by a Dermatologist or GP with appropriate training.
Pigment fading creams
Retinoid and Hydroquinone creams are often prescribed to fade the colour of age spots and generally take about 3 months to take effect. According to one study the most impressive improvement occurs after application of Tretinoin 0.1% cream (synthetic, first-generation all-trans-retinoic acid) for 8 to 12 months.
IPL and Lasers
IPL and some Lasers can be very effective. IPL or Intense Pulsed Light works by the emission of multiple wavelengths into the skin which disperses uneven pigment while drawing out the pigment-producing cells. Lasers work differently, essentially generating energy which is then absorbed by the pigment, creating heat at the site of the age spot undermining its composition. IPL and Laser treatment can be uncomfortable (like a rubber band snapping on the skin) but not painful and can have side effects including the crusting of the age spot and swelling.
Home remedies, oils and essences
Some people swear by a range of plant-based home remedies from lemon juice to chopped onion to fade age spots. Others still believe oils and essences can help enormously - we are in the latter camp. Velettà’s facial Purifying Mask contains citric acid, Vitamin C and Orange Peel powder to make the skin more even toned and to fade dark spots. Velettà’s Rejuvenating Oil, Cleansing Oil and Nourishing Moisturiser contains a host of oils and essences that help fade darken skin including Avocado Oil (it contains Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols which help with sun-damaged skin), Frankincense Oil (it is a lightening agent), Helichrysum Oil (it contains diketones which can help reduce the appearance of age spots and discolouration) and Grapeseed Oil (it contains proanthocyanidins a class of polyphenols which are a strong antioxidant that lightens age spots and helps prevent sun damage).
What to do this summer
This summer we will be slathering on sunscreen and covering up as much as possible and paying particular attention to our legs – we always forget them. We will also be using Velettà’s highly effective range of vegan, halal certified facial products to keep our skin hydrated, exfoliated and even toned. With any luck we wont need any of the “cures” come wintertime.