Despite their name, age spots have more to do with sun exposure than with age. They’re sometimes associated with age because they can take years to form. Fortunately, you can make them fade in just three steps.
How do age spots form?
When your skin is exposed to the sun on a regular basis, it produces pigment to protect itself. When the pigment producing cells (known as melanocytes) produce too much pigment in one area, or when the pigment becomes trapped, dark spots appear.
Commonly known as age spots, sun spots, solar lentigo (or lentigines), these tend to be bigger and more permanent than your typical freckles.
How to treat sun spots in 3 steps:
Step 1: Pigment Inhibiting Serums
Age spots are caused by overproduction of pigment in one spot, so naturally the first step is to get the pigment production under control.
You can do this with a pigment inhibiting serum, such as RejuvAus [S2] Whitening & Brightening Serum. It contains natural ingredients that inhibit pigment production in your skin, so it really works at the root cause of the pigment.
For example, Symwhite (Phenylethyl Resorcinol) is derived from pine trees and it inhibits the enzyme that sparks pigment production in your skin.
Serums with Vitamin B and Vitamin C can also be good for regulating pigment production in your skin and evening out your tone.
Step 2: Professional Treatments For Age Spots
Once the pigment production is brought back down to a normal level, professional treatments can remove existing pigment that has become trapped in the skin.
Which laser treatment you have will depend on the nature of your skin.
“With age spots, the pigment tends to be closer to the surface of the skin,” says our Clinician Mary, “so you need a laser that can target the surface layers of the skin.”
For a spot treatment, Mary often recommends the Sinon Q-Switch laser. It targets the pigment and essentially zaps it in a couple of quick flashes. The skin above the pigment dries out and then the pigmented cells flake off over the next week. The skin underneath returns more to your natural colour.
For sun damage that is spread out across the skin (as opposed to particular spots), we may recommend a Surface Rejuvenation treatment instead. Surface Rejuvenation targets the pigment and breaks it down into smaller particles, without drying out or affecting the surface of your skin. Your body then removes the pigment particles naturally.
For deeper pigmentation that sits at deeper layers of the skin (such as Melasma) we may recommend a Pico treatment, but again, it depends on the nature of your skin.
“When you come in for a consultation, we really look at your skin to make a diagnosis and recommend the right treatments, based on your skin type and the depth of pigmentation” Mary says.
Step 3: Prevent Age Spots From Returning
There is a chance that those age spots may resurface in the future, but you can take steps to prevent them.
First and foremost is sun protection; sunscreen, hats and choosing to sit in the shade. As we mentioned above, your skin creates pigmentation in response to UV exposure. Protecting yourself from UV rays from the sun will help minimise your risk of age spots, as well as ageing and potentially skin cancer.
You can also continue to use your pigment inhibiting serums after treatment to help regulate the melanocytes in your skin and keep the pigment production more even and regular.
Overall, the process is pretty simple for clear, even-toned skin. First, you stop the pigment from forming. Second, remove existing pigment. Third, take steps to prevent it from coming back.
When you come in for your initial consultation, our doctors or expert clinicians can help you put together a treatment plan to clear away those stubborn age spots.