Age Spots

Written by Serena Berger
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Age spots, even more than wrinkles, will make you look much older than you are, and often less healthy and attractive. Also known as lentigines, age spots are flat discolorations which appear on the surface of any skin which has been damaged by exposure to the sun. Most of the time, age spots are brown or brownish in color, but some people would call theirs yellow, pink, or red.

Preventing Age Spots

Preventing age spots is much easier than treating them. If you are under 40, heed this message well. Getting rid of lentigines involves serious pain, recovery time, and money. Preventing them involves a quick application of sunscreen every day, which can typically be found in your facial moisturizer or skin cream.

The SPF should be at least 30, if not 45. SPF refers to the amount of protected time in the sun which becomes equivalent to one unprotected minute. For example, if you are wearing an SPF of 30, then 30 minutes in the sun is only as bad as one minute without protection. Since even five minutes is enough to cause your body to produce harmful metalloproteinases (enzymes which break down collagen) for a week, you should realize that an SPF of 10 or 15 is not sufficient.

While age spots are harmless, they are caused by exactly the same thing as skin cancer--so you can feel good about preventing both at once. You should also be aware that age spots which change over time may no longer be harmless--any morphing of shape or color is a serious warning sign that they may have turned cancerous. See a doctor immediately, and he or she will counsel you on options for removal.


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