Age Spots

Age spots, sometimes called sun spots or "lentigines" in medical circles, are flat brown discolorations on the skin. Age spots usually appear on the back of the hands, arms, neck, chest, back and face and can appear as early as 30-years-old. These spots vary in size and resemble moles slightly, although they tend to be bigger.

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Age spots are mainly caused by long periods of sun exposure. Just like a tan, age spots are a sigh of sun damage. Although they're harmless and don't typically require treatment of any kind, age spots should be monitored for size or color changes. Still, they are a cosmetic concern for many so skin lighteners are used to fade the discoloration.

Applying sunscreen in your early years every time you venture into the sun is the best way to prevent age spots from occurring later in life. Plus, there are some over-the-counter moisturizers that contain alpha hydroxyl acid and beta hydroxyl acid. Both ingredients are known to lighten any discoloration on the skin.

For larger areas of age spots and for those who have a high risk of developing skin cancer prescription bleaching creams and gels are often prescribed by doctors. Retinoids is the most common medicine to treat age spots; while liquid nitrogen therapy is currently concerned as the fastest way to get rid of age spots. During the procedure, liquid nitrogen is sprayed directly onto the age spot. Since liquid nitrogen is cold (160-degrees Celsius), it causes the pigmentation turn white within a month after treatment.

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