Showing Your Age?

Your lifetime of sun exposure no doubt is revealed by brown spots on your hands and face: Age spots. These uniform skin blemishes, which also appear on neck and chest, are not caused by age. Rather, they come from sun damage.

Age spots can be treated at skin clinics, or you may opt for less effective do-it-yourself remedies. Dermatologists have great results with prescription-strength retinol and hydroquinone (HQ) preparations, which work faster than less potent over-the-counter formulations. Clinics and dermatologists also use microdermabrasion, chemical peels, chemical spot treatments, laser treatments, and light therapy to lighten the brown or gray pigmentation. Some procedures require just one treatment; others take two or three sessions.

The most popular at-home treatment is over-the-counter 2 percent HQ cream, which inhibits melanin production in the skin. But it can be irritating and may increase pigmentation if used for too long. Beyond which, it tends to be more effective for treating hormonally-induced irregular pigmentations than for treating true age spots.

Visit a skin clinic or dermatologist annually to ensure those age spots are harmless. Point out any changes in color, size, shape, or feel of marks on your skin.

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