I’ll admit it: for far too long, I was in denial about my skin.
I’ve pulled that mental trick of rationalizing those blotches I saw on my skin. “My complexion is just uneven,” I’d tell myself. My personal favorite was, “That’s just a tan that isn’t fading as quickly in some areas as it is in others.”
That worked until I started working in the skincare field. The more I learned, the less I could deny it: I had age spots. In my 20s. Ugh.
To save you from the same fate, here’s a peek at what I’ve learned since then throughout my journey to fight back against those intruders on my face.
What Are Age Spots?
Most people think age spots, or liver spots as they’re often called, are just an inevitable part of aging. That isn’t true – and it hasn’t been true since sunscreen was invented.
Age spots are actually sun damage.
No matter what shade your skin is, it contains cells called melanocytes, which produce pigment. When the sun’s UV radiation hits your skin, those melanocytes produce more pigment so the pigment can block the UV rays from doing more damage. That’s why you get a tan after lounging by the pool.
Unfortunately, some of that pigment sticks around after your skin has been damaged by the sun too many times. Those spots or patches of extra pigment are age spots.
Don’t get too mad at your past self for skipping the sunscreen and bringing on the curse of age spots. They didn’t know. But you do, and you can save your future self a lot of heartache.
What You Can Do About Age Spots
This is the part when we revel in the good news: that you have the power to fight back against age spots. Here’s a look at your weapons.
Prevention Makes Perfection
When it comes to age spots, think of your skin cells as having little sun trackers in them. Every time you expose them to radiation from the sun, that little ticker goes up until it eventually reaches a point when age spots form.
You can keep your age spots from getting worse by getting serious about your sun protection. I’m talking every morning, every day, every season.
The trick is to make sunscreen a non-negotiable part of your morning routine. It’s no more skippable than brushing your teeth.
Find a high-quality sunscreen like the CosMedix Peptide-Rich Sunscreen which enhances your skin while also shielding it from the sun. Can you say “win-win”?
What if your morning routine is already time-consuming because your complexion demands that you use a primer before your foundation to get a more even look? There’s an option for you.
Swap out your primer with tinted sunscreen. This product has just enough tint to give you a more even skin tone so your foundation can work its magic.
You get the sun protection you need while adding exactly zero steps to your routine. It doesn’t get better than that.
Go to a Pro
Let’s say you’re reading this at a time when you’re already frustrated with the number of age spots you have. Sure, prevention is great for keeping them from getting worse, but what can you do about the age spots that have already reared their ugly heads?
The fastest and most direct way to get rid of them is with professional resurfacing treatment. Laser treatments are popular choices, and so are chemical peels. Your dermatologist or aesthetician will be able to tell you which of the many treatments available today will be the best bet for your unique skin.
Keep in mind, though, that there are specific after-care instructions you’ll need to follow. Newly resurfaced skin is even more sensitive to new sun damage, so you need to keep it safe while accelerating the healing process.
The best way to do this is with post-procedure skincare products like the Biopelle Tensage Intensive Serum.
Join the Retinol Revolution
Professional skin treatments aren’t the only way to reduce your age spots. If you prefer to take the slow and steady route, it’s all about the retinol.
Retinol is the most effective skincare ingredient for reducing age spots and giving you a more even complexion. It can be skin-irritating, though, so a product like Obagi’s retinol keeps the ingredient to safe levels as long as you follow the product’s instructions.
As you might expect, it takes more time to fade your age spots with retinol than it does with professional treatments, but this process comes with its own benefits.
No appointments. No expensive or potentially painful procedures. No time off work for recovery. Need I say more?
How This Leopard Changed Her Spots
If you’re reading this as someone who’s sick of their age spots and wants them gone, consider me to be your voice from the other side.
When I decided to take control over my age spots, I used a combination of the methods above. I received a mild chemical peel that got me about 70% of the way to my goal. Then I used retinol to get me the rest of the way and I’ve been sticking with my trusty sunscreen ever since.
The moral of the story is that hope is not lost. There’s plenty you can do to get rid of your age spots and keep them from coming back or getting worse, and it could start with someone as simple as changing your skincare routine. It doesn’t get much easier than that.