What are age spots and what can we do about them? Those are questions that will ponder many people, if they are not careful about spending too much time, unprotected in the sun. They are caused by exposure to sunlight, although the reason that some people get them and others do not is unclear.
You might say, "But, I always use sunscreen." That may be true, but most sunscreens are ineffective. There is a great deal of controversy surround these compounds. Most of them were never fully tested before they were released on an unsuspecting public.
News reports that sunscreens could reduce your risk of skin cancer drove the sales of these products. Suddenly, companies had a new compound to push and push they did. Now, practically every skincare product that you pick up, even those intended for use at night, contain a sun-screening compound. It's ridiculous.
The only sun-blocking ingredient that has a proven record of safety and effectiveness is zinc oxide. But, let me get back to the question of what are age spots.
They are actually melanin clusters. The medical term for them is lentigos. They may vary in shape, size and color. Some are brown. Others are reddish. They may even be black. If you see these areas appear suddenly, you should consult your doctor. They are usually unrelated to skin cancer, but it is always wise to have any sudden change in the skin's texture or appearance evaluated by a professional.
So, what, you may ask is melanin. It is a pigment produced by the body with the help of the amino acid tyrosine. UVB radiation from the sun stimulates melanin production in the stratum basal layer of the epidermis. That's four of five layers beneath the surface. The UVB exposure that causes the spot to appear would have probably happened several months ago.
Now that you know what are age spots, you probably want to know if there is anything that you can do about them. There are actually several approaches that you can take. Eventually, if you avoided exposure to the sun, it might disappear on its own. Often times, the part of the body that they appear on has been exposed to the sun time and again. It may take a little patience to get rid of them, just as it took time for them to develop.
Knowing that what are age spots has to do with melanin production, it stands to reason that inhibiting melanin production would cause them to fade. The cells in the outermost layer of epidermis are replaced over time. Depending on your current age, the entire layer may be replaced every month or so.
It is beneficial to use creams containing ingredients that are proven to stimulate skin cell production, in order to speed replacement. If you also use a cream that inhibits melanin production, the new cells will be lighter in color. Now, that you know what are age spots, you might want to learn more about ingredients that can make them go away.
Check out my website to discover more on what you need to know in selecting effective skin care products.