Flawless, healthy-looking skin is always in style. Unfortunately, some of the ways people treat their skin, such as maintaining a perfect tan year-round, may cause damage to the skin. Even if you haven’t gone outside with the intention of getting a tan, there’s a strong chance that regular everyday exposure to the sun has caused visible damage. If you have brown spots or areas of your skin that are lighter than others, it’s likely you have sun spots.
So what exactly are sun spots? What causes them, and how can you get rid of them? Read on for the breakdown of these pesky complexion changes, and how to perfect your skin even if you have them.
What Are Sun Spots?
Sun spots are also known as “age spots” or “liver spots.” The clinical name for them is “solar lentigines.” The spots appear as dark splotches, light patches, or even grey areas on your skin. At one point, sun spots were believed to be caused by a malfunctioning liver, which is what earned them the term “liver spots.” Your liver actually has nothing to do with the appearance of sun spots. The term “age spots” is a little more accurate, as the appearance of these skin discolorations can be partially related to your age.
The true cause of sun spots is sun exposure. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays, over time this can cause areas of uneven melanin production. Melanin overproduction causes the dark spots on skin and the underproduction of melanin is what causes the lighter spots on your skin. Because we’re exposed to sun more and more throughout our lifetime, it’s more common for people over the age of 40 to have noticeable sun spots on their skin. Skin’s ability to uniformly produce melanin changes as we age as well.
Whether you call them age spots, sun spots, or liver spots, these areas of skin discoloration are not of any medical concern. These skin changes are normal and purely cosmetic. You should always check with a dermatologist if you notice raised areas of dark skin or moles as these could be a health concern.
Just because sun spots aren’t a reason to worry about your health doesn’t mean they aren’t annoying. While perfect skin is impossible to achieve, most of us strive to keep our complexion looking as clear and healthy as we can. The good news is there are ways to reduce the appearance of sun spots, and even to prevent them altogether.
How Do I Get Rid of Sun Spots?
The truth is there’s no way to get rid of sun spots completely once they have emerged on your skin. With that said, there are plenty of ways to prevent sun spots in the first place and to reduce their appearance once you do have them.
Avoiding Sun Spots
Your first line of defense against sun spots is to avoid them. You can do this by protecting your skin every time you’ll be exposed to the sun. Some methods for doing this include:
- Wear a daily moisturizer with SPF of at least 15 on your face and neck.
- Apply sunscreen any time you’ll be in the sun for over 30 minutes.
- Apply sunscreen to often-forgotten areas like the backs of your hands.
- Cover up with UV protective clothing.
- Take shade breaks from the sun to avoid all day exposure.
- Don’t use tanning beds.
Disguising Sun Spots
What if you already have sun spots? Or what if you get them in the future? Let’s be real – we all love to have fun in the sun and sometimes our skin takes the brunt of that fun. Never fear; hyperpigmentation or loss of pigmentation can both be disguised.
Because sun spots can either be light or dark in color, your approach to reducing how noticeable they are needs to be different. For light sun spots, you can use a small make-up brush and apply self tanner to the spots to darken them. For dark sun spots, there are a variety of over-the-counter products you can purchase that are designed to reduce the look of the darker areas. The active ingredient you should look for is hydroquinone.
There are also many tutorials and makeup products to help disguise dark spots on your face.
Practicing safe sun exposure and the use of cosmetic creams can help you manage the appearance of sun spots. As you age and inevitably expose your skin to more and more sunshine, it’s important to maintain your skin’s general health in order to keep it glowing all over.
Expert Help for Sun Spots
Because a sun spot is a normal (yet pesky) blemish, both dermatologists and estheticians have professional techniques and products for reducing them. Annual check-ups with your dermatologist should be part of your routine, and if you have particular areas of pigment change that are bothering you, discussing them with your dermatologist can be very beneficial. If you’re dealing with blemishes, sun spots, or other cosmetic skin concerns, seeing a professional esthetician is a great option. Not only can they recommend the best treatments for your specific skin type and concern, but they can also help identify the proper skin care regimen and products for you as well.
Your skin’s appearance and how well it ages will be direct reflections of your skin care routine, and how well you care for your skin throughout your life.
Skin Care for Sun Spots
The benefit of having professional help when dealing with a skin concern can’t be emphasized enough. Let’s discuss the ways different skin experts can help care for spotted skin.
Your dermatologist can prescribe an extra-strength skin lightening cream for extremely pigmented or especially stubborn skin spots. They can also use treatments such as laser therapy and professional-strength chemical peels.
Your esthetician can help smooth and brighten your skin. Dull skin shows blemishes of any kind more clearly. Healthy skin looks – well, healthy – and can help disguise any blemished areas you may have. Ideal spa treatments for people struggling with skin pigment issues include:
- Derma Peels
- Oxygen Infusion Treatments
- Dermafile Exfoliation
Skin Care Routine
An esthetician can also help determine the best skin care routine for your skin and recommend products that will target the specific discoloration areas you’re experiencing. If you don’t have an esthetician you see regularly, there are online resources where you can access skincare professionals and receive tailored skin care regimens.
Dealing with any skin issues, especially ones that can be indicative of our age, is frustrating! With some conscious effort to avoid sun spots and some expert help to deal with them when they happen, your skin can stay an expression of your personality, rather than a distraction from it.
Whether you need expert advice on skin care to reduce your sun spots or want to book a spa treatment with a licensed esthetician, we can help.