Why are you suddenly getting age spots and pigmentation?
The largest organ in the body, the skin, covers an area of about twenty square feet, yet no two millimetres are exactly the same, and all sorts of issues can occur within it. From unwanted textural and tonal inconsistencies to issues like acne and rosacea, many common skin problems can affect self-confidence, not to mention overall skin health. And one skin concern that is particularly frustrating and extremely common is pigmentation – also often referred to as ‘age spots’.
Dark spots occur when the skin produces excess melanin, the natural brown pigment that gives it colour. The exact reason dark spots appear ranges from acne scars to excessive sun exposure to ageing. However, most dark spots result from excessive sun exposure, which has built up over time until it finally manifests on the surface. So, if you’re suddenly starting to notice changes in your complexion and are wondering how best to address them, this is everything you need to know.
What are age spots, and why am I suddenly getting them?
Age spots, also known as liver spots, sunspots, or solar lentigines, are a form of pigmentation, and they appear as flat brown, tan or black marks on the skin’s surface. They usually occur later in life on areas of the body that have had a lot of sun exposure, such as the face and neck, back of the hands, shoulders, and upper back. They’re extremely common, especially in people with lighter skin over the age of fifty who have spent a lot of time in the sun, on tanning beds, or have a family history of age spots.
If you’re suddenly starting to notice age spots forming on your skin, it may be due to prolonged sun exposure over a long period. UV light from the sun speeds up the skin’s melanin production (its natural pigment). When more melanin forms in one area, the skin has more pigmentation and becomes darker. This is known as hyperpigmentation.
Age spots are usually harmless, but it’s essential to see a doctor who will confirm that they’re not cancerous lesions, especially if you have a history of sun exposure or sunburn.
Can skincare help?
The best skincare ingredients for pigmentation are a combination of chemical exfoliants and anti-melanin creams like Cyspera, a highly effective skin pigmentation cream used to remove brown spots, reduce pigmentation marks, and treat melasma, leaving a natural light skin complexion. Its key active ingredient is cysteamine, which is proven to be even more effective than hydroquinone. It is found naturally in human cells and reduces melanin in the skin epidermis.
A vitamin C serum is an excellent all-around antioxidant. It reduces melanin production through its action as a tyrosinase inhibitor, brightening skin and preventing oxidation of existing pigmentation so it doesn’t become darker. It’s also essential to protect the skin from more pigmentation caused by UV damage. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day – the higher the SPF, the better.
Skincare alone can’t always fix pigmentation problems. In some cases, we may need to elicit the power of an in-clinic treatment to help promote a more radiant, even skin tone.
RF microneedling can work well for sun damage and pigmentation. This is due to the power of collagen production and its ability to repair and restore your skin.
Targeted chemical peels containing blends of actives like glycolic acid, kojic acid, TCA, retinol, and salicylic acid will help get rid of acne, signs of ageing and pigmentation all in one go. Patient selection and assessment are key for successful pigmentation treatment, and patience and adherence to a good skincare regime is fundamental.
If you’d like to discuss options for reducing the appearance of pigmentation, click here to book a skin health assessment with our friendly team.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.