A lot of what we think of as changes to our skin from aging are actually the result of sun damage. This includes uneven pigmentation and age spots (also called sun freckles or liver spots), wrinkles, thin skin, rough texture, dryness and scale.
To understand what aging alone does to skin, look at parts of your body that have had very little sun exposure and compare them to the parts of your skin that have had a lot of sun exposure. Sun protected areas such as your buttock, your tummy or the under-surface of your arms age by becoming finely crinkled and dry, and may develop crusty pink brown age spots that I call barnacles (really called seborrheic keratosis).
Compare that to the way your skin looks on the sun exposed areas such as your face, the sides of your neck or the outer surface of your arms. Here the skin may have crinkles and barnacles, but it also has wrinkles, freckles, is so thin that there is possibly visible ‘broken' capillaries, is saggy, and possibly more fragile. This comparison will give you an excellent picture of age-related changes versus sun-induced skin changes.
- Uneven pigmentation and brown age spots can be lightened with alpha hydroxy acids and exfoliation. I especially like glycolic acid (as in our many Glycolic Acid products and kits) for lightening pigmentation and age spots. Exfoliating products will help buff off age spots and for this I like products such as the Replenix Exfoliating Scrub, our Anti-Aging Body Skin Care Kit, Salux Cloth and Buf Puf Exfoliating Facial or Body Sponge.
- The reason I like glycolic acid over the other alpha hydroxy acids is that it is the best for loosening the cells in the age spots. I've had a lot of experience with glycolic acid products over the years and the products I have are the best and most effective glycolic acid products for my patients and for my own skin. I discuss this in detail with the information that I include in the Facial Anti-Aging Skin Care Kits and the Anti-Aging Body Skin Care Kit. Lactic acid is another widely available alpha hydroxy acid and Am Lactin Cream is my second choice, after the glycolic acid products that I just mentioned. It is available at many retail pharmacies without a prescription.
- Prescription creams that contain retinoids (such as Retin-A, Renova and generic tretinoin cream) are also very helpful for lightening pigmentation and age spots, but require a prescription.
- Lastly, to really lighten age spots and uneven pigmentation, you must use sun protection. Without sun protection, age spots and uneven pigmentation will never lighten. It is important to wear sunscreen on all exposed parts of your skin and the sun block product must block all of the aging UVA and UVB sun waves. All of our sunscreen products do! Remember, you need sun protection every day because UVA rays come through windows - and they will darken age spots!
Wrinkle treatment products are discussed in my advice for wrinkle treatment. There are so many options that this complex topic deserves its own section.