I am harping on sun protection this month but what can we do about the sun damage that we already have? Most of us have spent many years of our life either sun tanning or inadvertently getting exposed to UV rays. We already have the sun damage as seen with our freckles, and as we continue to age, those brown spots and fine lines start to become more evident. Those brown spots, known as solar lentigo, are benign “age spots” that appear brown with irregular borders and usually are present in sun exposed areas like our face and shoulders. While we can’t undo the damage done, we can minimize the appearance of the discoloration.
The first three treatments are more intense and expensive treatments that are effective, but not easily accessible to most people.
- Chemical Peels
- Laser Therapy
- Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL)
Topical Treatments for Age Spots
I personally love the topical applications instead. Items 1 and 2 you can get from your dermatologist or primary care doctor. The others are available over the counter. Choosing a product that contains 2 of these ingredients, or combines it with salicylic or glycol acid, helps it work even better.
- Tretinoin 0.025 to 0.1% (Retin-A, Avivta)
- Acts as a skin “bleach”
- Vitamin C topical Serum 5-12% (ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid)
- Purchase in a sealed container that prevents light from penetrating the packaging.
- Kojic Acid
- Licorice Extract
While these treatments help diminish the appearance of already formed age spots, wearing sunscreen daily prevents new spots from forming.