The 411 on these blemishes + how to prevent them
At divine.ca HQ, we’ve been hearing a lot about age spots for a few months now. It would seem that these skin irregularities have become a major concern for women in their thirties. As a result, the big names in skincare have come up with some solutions. To better understand these signs of aging, we spoke with Amy Chen, Scientific Communication and Training Leader at SkinCeuticals, who cleared things up for us, once and for all…
Why the long face?
A dull complexion? No, thanks! That said, before declaring war on age spots, these pesky blemishes that threaten to ruin our appearance, let’s try and understand exactly what they are, and how they form.
“Age spots are characterized by discolouration of the skin, and are best described as brown spots and uneven skin tone,” says the expert. We generally witness this hyperpigmentation on the parts of the body most often exposed to the sun, namely the face, neck, arms, shoulders, and the hands.
The usual suspects: UV rays and those trusty hormonal changes (gotta love ‘em!). When either one of these factors comes into play, the skin goes into protection mode, and reacts by over-producing melanin, the pigment which determines skin colour.
As such, pregnant or menopausal women must be particularly careful. “If skin is exposed to the sun during a period of hormonal changes, the likelihood of having age spots increases,” advises Chen. The expert follows with this warning: “Be advised that taking the birth control pill can cause the excessive appearance of age spots in localized areas on the face.”
How to keep them at bay
Lucky for us, it’s possible to diminish the appearance of certain age spots, sometimes in a matter of weeks. To do just that, many brands offer skincare solutions that inhibit the transfer of melanin onto the epidermis, in addition to exfoliating the noticeable spots on the surface of the skin.
However, “the most effective and quick way to get rid of age spots would be to combine a powerful at-home treatment with treatments by a medical professional, intense pulsed light (IPL), or a chemical peel,” says the skin expert. Still, please be advised, ladies: “During a treatment against age spots, whether at home or by a professional, sun protection is extremely important! Generally, these products contain chemical exfoliants or ingredients that may cause skin sensitization.”
There you have it! Although the best thing would be to focus on preventing, rather than treating, and that, starting today! The principle to abide by at all times: every day, before leaving the house, apply a layer of UVA-UVB protection.