Stop The Summer Darkening Of Your Age Spots

Cynthia Bailey, MD|July 30, 2010

Age spots on the skin really darken up from summer sun exposure. They tan better than normal skin and really stand out, even after the briefest sun exposure. There are three things I tell my patients to do to help keep their age spots from getting darker during the summer. People who do all three get the best results.

3 Easy Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent Darkening of Age Spots:

  1. Keep the sun off of your skin
  2. Exfoliate regularly
  3. Use skin lightening products to 'turn down' your skin's ability to tan

1. How to best keep the sun off your skin to prevent age spot darkening: The best way to keep the sun off of your age spots is by covering them with clothing. For areas of your skin that you can’t cover (eg. your face), wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that contains 5% or more micro zinc oxide. I give extensive recommendations on sun protection in some of my recent posts: Are Your Summer Clothes Good Enough To Be Sun Protective Clothing How To Apply Sunscreen & Have Healthy, Fabulous Skin Forever 2. Exfoliation to lighten age spots: Exfoliating lightens your age spots because the dead skin cell layers above them are extra thick and the brown color is carried up through every layer. Because of this, age spots are sort of like little speed bumps and regular exfoliation of the dead skin really lightens up the dark color because they sit slightly higher than the rest of the skin. The best way to do this is with my Anti Aging Body Skin Care Kit that includes both physical exfoliation and strong AHA glycolic acid exfoliation. Over the years, I've had many thousands of my patients using this kit and it works beautifully to lighten age spots. I've used it myself for at least 10 years and have watched my age spots actually go away just because I'm using these products; I created the kit for my 40th birthday when I got my first age spot on my arm -- it went away in a few months after using my new kit, which was a great 'happy birthday to me' ! 3. Using skin pigment lighteners to fade age spots: I also have my patients ‘turn down’ pigment production with prescription bleaching creams that contain 4% hydroquinone, and prescription Retin A (tretinoin). There are tricks to using these products and they have side effects so ask your doctor if these treatments would be appropriate for you. One of my favorite skin lightening programs is The Obagi Nu Derm System and I discussed it during a post that I wrote this winter: Winter: Now Is The Time To Fix Your Unwanted Age Spots and Skin Pigmentation The good news about age spots is that it really is possible to get through the summer without getting spottier and spottier. Using any one of these steps to prevent age spot darkening will help, and doing all three is even more effective. You might even see them get lighter than they are in the winter! A final note on age spots: Remember that not every brown spot is an age spot. Melanoma, a deadly cancer, can often start looking like one of your age spots. If you have age spots, you've probably also had a lot of sun exposure in your life and would be well served by getting an annual skin exam by your dermatologist. Early detection of skin cancer really does save lives, I see it every day. If You Found This Information Helpful, You May Also Want To Read: How To Get The Most Out Of Your Anti Aging Skin Care Choosing The Right Make Up For Post Menopausal Skin Use Self Tanners Like A Pro Skip The Tan And Eat Your Veggies For Beautiful Skin Color

Photo Mik Hartwell Flickr

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