Age spots are common in people who are in their 40s and 50s. It is also known as ‘solar lentigines’ by doctors due to long term harmful effects they have on the skin. If you are exposed to direct sunlight most days of the week and hardly ever use any sunscreen, don’t be surprised if you see age spots later on. If you already have age spots however, then you can use skincare treatments that contain a powerful ingredient known as hydroquinone.
Most skin lightening and brightening creams and toners contain hydroquinone so that dark patches of the skin fade away. You need to first get an assessment done from a dermatologist before you proceed to use it because only a professional can tell you the product that has the right amount of hydroquinone concentration in it.
Causes of age spots
Age spots can be classified under hyper-pigmentation and discoloration. They are formed by an increase of melanin in the skin. Melanin is a skin coloring agent present in everyone — it changes the skin color due to various factors such genes, age, disease and sun etc. Due to direct and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays, the skin darkening process gets accelerated. =They are usually light to dark brown in color. Age spots can occur in every skin tone and race so it’s a common myth that only Caucasian or fair skin types get affected. Age spots can also happen to people who use tanning beds a lot to reduce their paleness.
Over the Counter Hydroquinone
Age spots don’t require any medical treatment per se and mostly people have them removed for cosmetic reasons. However, a majority of people prefer to use over the counter treatments to reduce the appearance of these spots. It is a strong bleaching agent found in many skin lightening creams and products. However, over the counter creams always contain a milder form of it compared to prescription based hydroquinone.
By law, it is not permissible to use more than 2% hydroquinone in bleaching creams. This isn’t to say that over the counter products don’t work, but they work only if you use them consistently on the affected area. For these products, it takes quite a bit of time to see the desired result due to the low concentration of hydroquinone present in them.
The stronger version of hydroquinone is prescription based (4% concentrated) and is sold in over 30 different brand names. If you have extreme levels of age spots, then your doctor might also prescribe you another topical bleaching agent along with it. The results can be achieved in as little as 3-6 months.
Hydroquinone is a skin irritant so always do a patch test before using it. Don’t use any other skincare treatment that your doctor hasn’t prescribed. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant, have allergies or liver/kidney disease.
Protect Your Skin
Don’t forget to use sunscreen everyday whether you are at home or outside so that there is minimum exposure to the UV rays.