We all like to be prepared for the future. Most of the time this means checking in on our savings regularly and ensuring that we have what we need set aside if a storm is coming. It makes for a sensible precaution. After all, why let something sneak up on you and leave you surprised without the ability to react properly? This desire to prepare for the future is why so many of us begin utilizing anti-aging skincare techniques early on. All we really want to do is get ahead of any issues and minimize their chances of occurring early. Age spots are a good example of this. The very name makes us think of being just a bit farther along in our years than we’d like to be and the thought of them turning up early makes us feel even worse. We’ve got some bad news though: they’re also called “sun spots”. The good news that comes with it is that you can work against the issue easily enough.
Defining Age/Sun Spots
In essence, these spots are just one form of hyperpigmentation. That is a collective reference for any skin condition that results in one area having a greater amount of pigment that the surrounding area. Sun spots are one of the most common and actually the simplest to identify. They tend to be only a few shades darker than the rest of the skin and relatively contained. Age spots are, in many ways, a large version that results from aging skin being less able to repair any damage they take and more prone to issues. Sun spots, when you’re younger, tend to be smaller, but they contribute directly to later age spots. Areas of your skin that have had repeated and prolonged sun exposure over the years end up being where age spots are most likely to form thanks to a subtle buildup of melanin in the skin. All it takes is the skin being a little bit thinner and less able to protect itself for the skin to fall back on its key way of defending itself: producing more melanin.
Age of Appearance
It is hard to precisely pin down when we’re going to say age spots begin thanks to them being, more or less, the exact same thing as sun spots. The difference is largely in size and the age at which they begin to appear. If we consider sun spots to be age spots, then we must admit that age spots can appear at almost any age, including one’s early 20s, but become increasingly likely at ages 40 and up as the changes that happen to the skin begin to set in. Thinning of the collagen and similar changes make the skin more susceptible to sun damage and areas previously damage by the sun reacted by increasing production of melanin leading to larger localized patches of pigmentation. However if we view sun spots as different from age spots, we must then admit that sun spots are a particular form of sun damage that tends to begin to form on the skin at ages 40 and up as a result of sun exposure earlier in life. Ultimately, it comes down to semantics.
Treating Age Spots
Treatment of age spots is ideally preventive. You want to minimize the amount of sun damage that your body takes so that there isn’t as much change for hidden overly sensitive areas to develop and darken with age. To that end, you’ll want to wear sunscreen consistently when you’re going to be outdoors, by large windows, or otherwise exposed to UV rays for any length of time. We recommend that you follow the standard rules for sunscreen at the very least. That means regularly applying sunscreen that offers your SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum protection. This will help minimize most sun damage. If you went too long without protecting your skin, you can still work against age spots after they’ve appeared with particularly treatments. Brightening products, chemical peels, laser therapy, and other treatments all exist to brighten darker patches of skin. They aren’t always perfectly successful though and as a result we recommend prevention if you can manage it.
Age spots are just another form of a familiar problem: sun spots. They are a more concentrated form in some cases though as they end up being larger than your average sun spot. Sun exposure is at the root cause of all of them and you can expect age spots to appear sooner the more often you expose your unprotected skin to the sun. With that in mind, remember to wear sunscreen to help minimize the appearance of age spots.