There’s an interesting paradox in our culture: the desire to have tan or “glowing” skin, and the expectation that skin should be flawless and even. Because of excessive sun exposure, skin cancer is rampant among men and women in our culture today. But even if you haven’t developed skin cancer, however, it’s still likely that you will develop sun spots, also sometimes called age spots, at some point during your life.
Depending on their severity, sun spots can be extremely unsightly and embarrassing. While they are most common on the face, they can also appear on the face, arms, chest, shoulders, and other areas of the body that have had extended, repeated exposure to the sun.
Of course, being consistent with wearing sunscreen is the best way to prevent these sunspots from occurring in the first place. But if you’re dealing with unsightly sun spots that have already developed, you don’t have to keep them around forever. Here are a few options that can diminish or eliminate your sun spots, giving your skin a more even tone and appearance.
Creams and Topical Treatments:
The most important thing you need to remember if you chose to use topical creams to treat your sun spots is that results won’t happen overnight. Many people expect to see immediate results from these products, and then are disappointed after purchasing them when they don’t see the results they were expecting. The results you experience will also be dependent on how dark your sun spots are to begin with.
These creams, serums, and lotions often include ingredients like lactic acid, glycolic acid, topical retinoids to stimulate cell turnover. The also include other ingredients like glutathione to help fade the darkened pigment that is causing the spots. It usually takes several weeks to start noticing improvements in your skin tone from these topical treatments, and it’s imperative that while using them, you are consistent in using sunscreen at all times. Many of these topical treatments can be found online, over the counter, or can even be prescribed by your dermatologist.
Photofacials and Chemical Peels
These treatments are generally more intensive (and costly), but have shown to provide longer-lasting results than topical creams or ointments. A photofacial uses light-based therapy (not laser) to even out skin tone and diminish brown spots and broken blood vessels. Chemical peels produce similar results, but use a topical agent on the skin to promote exfoliation and cell turnover. The chemical solution essentially dissolves the top layer of skin that holds the discolorations, allowing new, rejuvenated skin to grow. Photofocials and chemical peels usually take several treatments to drastic results in the reduction of age spots. Other than minor redness or irritation after the treatment, there really isn’t any downtime associated with these treatments. Photofacials and peels are generally administered by a dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, or even at med spas by licensed professionals.
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