Although there is no cure for age spots, they can be prevented or lightened. Since these skin spots are usually caused by exposure to the sun, protection from the suns rays can help prevent them from forming. Several methods can also be used to reduce the appearance of age spots, including topical creams, dermabrasion, acid peels, cryotherapy, and laser therapy.
Age spots are also sometimes referred to as liver spots or sun spots, and the scientific term for these spots is solar lentigines. The spots usually appear on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, such as the hands, arms, and face. These small spots are usually tan, brown, or gray in color. This discoloration is caused by damage to melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells found in the skin.
Individuals who have developed age spots may try several types of topical creams to lighten these dark areas, though most are not as effective as they claim. Prescription bleaching creams, for instance, will often lighten the surrounding skin. Less harsh, over-the-counter lightening creams, on the other hand, may not even work at all as a cure for age spots.
Some people may also consider dermabrasion and chemical peels when looking for a cure for age spots. During a dermabrasion procedure, the top layers of skin are literally sanded away. This will often result in scabbing and possible scarring before the appearance of age spots is diminished. Acid peels also remove the top layers of skin, but it may take several sessions.
Cryotherapy can also be used as a cure for age spots. During this procedure, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze age spots, which causes the abnormal melanocytes to die. Laser therapy can also be used to cure age spots, but this procedure is typically very expensive. It can also take several sessions before the age spots become less noticeable.
Prevention is often considered better than a cure for age spots, since they can be difficult to eradicate. Avoiding the sun is typically the best way to limit the damage. People are often particularly urged to stay out of the sun during the late morning and early afternoon hours, when the rays are the most intense.
Those who wish to go out into the sun during these hours should protect themselves from the sun. This can often be accomplished with clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants can prevent the sun's rays from reaching a person's skin, for instance. Hats can be used to shade and protect a person's head and face.
Sunscreen can also be used as a preventative measure or cure for age spots. Experts recommend applying a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher to all exposed areas of skin, including the face. A broad spectrum sunscreen is typically best, since it helps protect a person from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.