Sunspots/Age Spots

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What are Sunspots/Age Spots?

  • Sunspots ( solar lentigines) are brown spots on the face and body that resemble large freckles

  • They appear with repeated exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. They can be anywhere on the body that has had sun exposure.

  • As the skin ages and isn’t able to repair itself as effectively, we develop more of these spots.

Causes

  • Our skin cells produces pigment as protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. When the cell becomes damaged, it produces melanin (a tan). Overtime, the melanin production goes in to overdrive in an attempt to combat the UV damage. When a cell over produces melanin, it causes an area to look darker thus forming a sunspot. 

  • Sunspots are more profuse on the left side of the face because of increased exposure while driving.  

Treatments

  • The best treatment is prevention by using sunscreen. Sunscreen should be a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 (if you’ve had a history of melanoma you should use an SPF minimum of 50) applied every 2 hours when exposed or more frequently when swimming or perspiring.

Once corrected, it is imperative to maintain results and prevent recurrence by using sunscreen and avoiding further sun exposure.