What are they?
Age spots are flat, brown, gray, or black spots
on the skin. They usually occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Age spots are
also called liver spots, senile lentigo, solar lentigines, or sun spots. Age
spots are the result of an excess production of melanin, or skin pigment.
Doctors don’t always know why age spots develop. Skin aging, sun exposure, or
other forms of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, such as tanning beds, are all
possible causes. You’re most likely to develop age spots on the areas of your
skin that receive the most sun exposure, including your face, the back of your
hands, your shoulders, your upper back and your forearms.
How to prevent age
Since these brown blotches are caused by the sun’s UV
rays, limiting sun exposure is an important first step in the battle against
age spots. Avoid the sun as much as possible during peak hours (10 AM to 4 PM
during spring, summer, and fall or 10 AM to 2 PM during winter), when the
ultraviolet radiation is the strongest.
Even if you already have age spots, sunscreen keeps
existing ones from darkening and helps prevent more from popping up, says
Kunin. Buy a broad-spectrum sunblock (which protects you from both the UVA and
UVB rays of the sun) with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 (Such as
Works Leg Protector SPF30). Apply it to exposed skin 10 to 15
minutes before you go outside, says C. Ralph Daniel III, MD. Tests show that
SPF 30 sunblock protects the skin against about 93% of the sun’s UV rays, he
Top Tip: Use lemon
Cut a few lemon slices and place them directly onto your
age spots for 10 to 15 minutes once a day, suggests Kunin. “The acid in the
fresh lemon juice helps lighten the age spots in some cases.” It won’t happen
overnight, though. Kunin says that you’ll notice a difference in 6 to 12 weeks.
Watch carefully. Overuse may cause the upper layer of skin to peel.