There are many ways in
which the sun causes damage to our skin, and one of them is certainly
getting solar lentigines commonly
called sun spots. Sun spots
are flat brown spots that appear on parts of your skin due to
sun exposure, mainly on your face, neck, arms, back and shoulders–
the most exposed areas.
Sun spots are often
confused with freckles as they look similar, but they are different.
People with lighter complexions are usually born with
freckles. On the other hand, sun spots are a result of overexposure
to the sun’s UV rays and almost everyone will get them eventually,
fair skinned people earlier than others, all depending on the time
spent in daylight.
Sunspots tend to darken and increase in number
with any exposure to UV rays. While sunspots are harmless themselves
and don’t turn into cancer, it is not always easy to tell them from
other types of skin damage like dangerous moles, infected blisters,
basal skin cancer and melanoma, so it is always advisable to take
great care and inform yourselves about any changes on your skin. If they are increasing
in size or bleeding, see a doctor immediately.
Any exposure to ultra
violet rays will cause the sun spots to show up. UV rays come through
the windows, bounce off cement, reflect in water and mirror, and pass
through clouds. Spending our summer days
outside in lots of sun causes our skin to age, lose elasticity and
gain sun spots, so millions of people worldwide are affected by this
The most effective way
to avoid getting sun spots is of course prevention, which means
getting out of the way of UV rays. Cover your skin with clothes, wear
a summer hat, sit in the shade and get out of the direct sun whenever
possible. You can also wear broad spectrum sunscreen 365 days a year.
If your skin is sensitive, wear sunscreen SPF 30 or above at all
times. But as it is almost impossible to keep all UV rays off our
skin, we need options to make up for the damage done. One is using
skin care products and facial peels that fade and remove sun spots
and the other is using modern methods like laser treatment.
A variety of skin care products can make the sun spots lighter. The most effective products
contain hydroquinone, which reduces production of melanin, a
skin pigment. These may require a long time to show results though.
There are also naturaltopical DIY facial masks made from master antioxidant foods and
plants like green tea, spirulina and cranberries. Mulberry extract,
bearberry shrub, cranberry and blueberry leaves will also help.
An alternative to this
are facial peels that contain various acids, retinoids and
hydroquinone. They work by removing outer layers of the skin together
with the darkened cells leaving the skin smooth and clean, with no
dead or damaged cells.
Sometimes the above
mentioned treatments just don’t work well enough, but luckily,
nowadays we have another option available called Intense Pulsed Light
(ILP). This is a laser treatment for full facial rejuvenation
which is based on directing strong light and heat to the affected
areas thus initiating the therapeutic effect. It causes a mild
pinching sensation and some skin irritation, but aloe Vera gel
soothes the skin effectively. Results will be seen in a few weeks but
additional sessions might be needed for better results.
A combination of
preventative measures and post summer facials will keep your skin
looking fresh and young, and if not, treating yourself with an ILP
will certainly improve your skin tone and smooth out any