Sun Spot Removal: What Are Sun Spots and How to Prevent Them

Sun spots, age spots, liver spots — three different names, yet they are all basically the same thing.

The terms age and liver spots are, quite frankly, a misnomer. Sun spots, as you may have guessed, are caused by the sun. They’re only referred to as age or liver spots because they tend to develop as one gets older — typically around the fifth and sixth decade of life. However, they can begin to show up as early as your 20’s.

Keen to learn more about sun spot removal and prevention? This blog has it all…

How Do Sun Spots Develop?
Sun spots are characterized by their flat, round shape and light brown color. They most commonly appear on the back of the hands first, then the face, neck, and shoulders as you age. In short, sun spots are actually oversized, sun-induced freckles.

For most people, sun spots tend to make an appearance from the age of 30 onwards. This is why they’re also called age spots. The older you get, the more likely they will begin to show up on the skin due to exposure to the sun.

Sunlight is comprised of ultraviolet (UV) light that is associated with sunburn and darkened skin pigmentation. It’s no secret that these UV rays are damaging. Over time, excessive exposure to the sun can result in not only wrinkles but unwanted sun spots and pigmentation.

Sun Spot Removal: At-Home and Professional Treatment
If you have a light spattering of sun spots that aren’t too dark or pronounced, some of these home remedies could work for you.

Aloe vera ointment or creams which contain aloesin and aloin, known to lighten sun spots and hyperpigmentation
Topical creams containing licorice extract – particularly effective in treating melasma, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation
Vitamin C creams and serums which act as a natural antioxidant, while promoting collagen production
A diet rich in vitamin E or vitamin E supplements, which help to protect the skin from further sun damage
Apple cider vinegar which contains acetic acid helps to lighten skin pigmentation
Lemon juice – this is a long-time remedy for lightening skin and hair, but due to its acidic nature it must be used sparingly
Buttermilk, which contains lactic acid, is known to lighten sun spots and other pigmentation issues
Raw honey is packed with antioxidants and can be used to promote new cell growth and fade sun spots
Alternatively, you can invest in a good skincare regime comprised of topical creams. Look for active ingredients such as hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, hydroquinone, kojic acid, or deoxyarbutin.

Professional Treatment Options
If the above at-home remedies just don’t cut it, there are a myriad of professional treatments worth considering for sun spot removal. Some of the most popular include:

Intense pulse light therapy (IPL)
Laser skin resurfacing
Chemical peels
These treatments are a little more invasive than at-home remedies. But they are mostly painless and require 20-30 minutes of your time for a professional appointment. Bear in mind that results are not instant, you may need to return for a number of sessions before you see a real change in your skin.

Sun Spot Prevention Tips
One of the best things you can do to prevent sun spots from making an appearance altogether is to protect your skin. As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few preventative tips:

1. Always Wear Sunscreen, Even in Winter
Sunscreen is one of the first and foremost effective means of keeping sun spots at bay. Wearing sunscreen is also a great way to prevent existing sun spots from darkening.

Invest in a broad-spectrum sunscreen, one that protects against UVA and UVB sun rays. Opt for a sun protection factor of at least 30 and apply it 15-minutes before you head out into the sun. Studies have shown that SPF 30 sunblock works to block out up to 93% of harmful UV rays.

Wearing sunblock is even important in winter. Just because the weather is cold or it’s overcast, doesn’t mean that UV ray filtration is not harmful. Look for a high-quality moisturizer, foundation or concealer that contains an SPF to keep your face sun spot free as you age.

2. Protect Your Head
This is especially important in the height of summer or when spending time outdoors, in the heat of the day. If you plan on spending time outside in the midday or even late afternoon sun, a hat is essential.

The type of hat you wear also makes a big difference. Go for a wide-brim hat that extends at least 4-inches from the head. This way your face, neck, and shoulders will be protected. Baseball caps and woven hats actually provide very little sun protection.

3. Choose The Right Time to Be in the Sun
Is there really a right time to be in the sun? When it comes to age spot prevention, not really. But heading outdoors is inevitable and so is sun exposure. But if you want to try and avoid the harshest hours of direct sunlight this generally falls between the hours of 10 am – 4 pm in summer and 10 am – 2 pm in winter.

4. Protect Existing Sun Spots
The protection of existing sunspots is also very important as you age. One of the simplest ways to do so as a woman is to ensure your spots are covered. Whether this means applying sunblocks to certain spots, foundation or concealer, it’s always a good idea to cover ’em up.

5. Pack Your Diet with Vitamin C and E
Vitamins C and E are essential in helping the skin rejuvenate and heal itself. But unfortunately, the body does not naturally produce these vitamins — they have to be supplemented. This is why it’s important to include foods rich in both these vitamins in your daily diet. This includes foods such as tomatoes, strawberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, broccoli, kale, papaya, fortified cereals, grains, seeds, nuts, and leafy green vegetables.

Love the Skin You’re In with Better Off Med Spa
If you’re looking for a non-invasive medical spa in the San Diego area for sun spot removal, Better Off is your local go-to.

Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation and learn to love the skin you’re in again!