Erasing Age Spots

The truth about treating these stubborn skin discolorations

age spotsWhatever you want to call them — age spots, sun spots, brown spots, hyperpigmentation areas — discolorations of the skin are caused by your body’s overproduction of melanin.

So why the overproduction of melanin? There are three main causes of age spots:
(1) Genetics. Simply put, some of us just naturally have more melanin in our skin than others, making us genetically predisposed to discoloration spots.
(2) Aging. The natural aging process contributes to discolored spots occurring.
(3) Sun Exposure. The sun exaggerates the body’s production of melanin as a defense mechanism (tanning). Repeated sun exposure over the years can lead to age spots/sun spots that vary in color from brown to reddish- or pinkish-brown.

What are the proven treatments for age spots?

Treatment for age spots/sun spots ranges from mild, over-the-counter creams you apply at home, to prescription serums and creams that are typically applied in the doctor’s office, to other common in-office procedures performed by an experienced surgeon including microderm abrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing. The best plan of attack may be a combination of the above and will likely require more than one treatment. A personal consultation with Dr. Smyth is your next step to discovering which course of treatment is best for you.

Can age spots be erased forever?

Unfortunately, age spots are likely to reappear at least to some degree. That’s because genetics and the aging process are inherently working against us. And unless you completely shield your skin from the sun and elements every minute of every day, your body will continue to produce melanin as a form of protection. That being said, you can reduce the number of age spots you have and their intensity by using a UVA/UVB sunscreen of at least SPF30 or higher every day year-round.