Recognizing sun spots
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 condition.
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 imperfections.