How To Get Rid Of Age Spots Quickly
Let Me Guess, It Started With Only One or Two...
So we're in early middle age, what's the big deal if there is one or two spots on our face when we look in the mirror? You might even have thought those one or two little brown blemishes add a little character to your otherwise perfect complexion. They're nothing to fear, right? We got over the fine lines of crow's feet starting to show at the corner of our eyes, so what if now there's a blemish or two?
It's not like we didn't know that when we got into our thirties we'd start to have a more adult face. And in some ways these adult changes might suit our lives, maybe you've had kids, gotten an eduction, been through some ups and downs. That's adult life, right?
But whereas one or two spots is no big deal, when more start appearing all over and the original little spots are getting bigger and joining the ones next door it's time to do something. We all for looking like an adult, but let's not give up our youthful look without a fight!
What Exactly Are Age Spots?
What we call age spots are more formally known as hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is simply brown spots or areas of the skin that are darker than the surrounding areas. This condition can develop rather suddenly and often occurs on the face which is the area that causes the most concern.
Although it's a little scary at first to suddenly discover skin problems on your face, the good news is that hyperpigmentation is common, sometimes temporary and easy to prevent and treat.
What Does Hyperpigmentation Look Like?
In some people larger sections of the face become lighter or darker resulting in a blotchy affect. This is actually a conditional related to hyperpigmentation called melasma.
People with darker skin coloring such as those of Asian, African American, Mediterranean or Hispanic descent are sometimes more prone to another aspect of the disorder where acne scars become darker and more visible years after the acne itself has gone away.
Hyperpigmentation in Women
Some A lot of what we'll talk about here pertains to women and that's simply because men are less likely to look for causes and cures for these types of skin issues. Also, some of the causes related to hyperpigmentation are female-hormone related, so not really applicable to the fellas.
The Science Behind Hyperpigmentation and Melasma
Just like it sounds, hyperpigmentation means skin is producing too much pigment. Melanin is the part of the skin cell that produces pigment so it's an excess of melanin in a concentrated area that causes the brown spot on the skin.
Why do skin cells start producing melanin in excess? It's part of what happens as we age and the cellular functions deteriorate; they just stop functioning as perfectly as they used to as they replicate over time and this is one of the visible side effects.
What triggers Hyperpigmentation or Melasma?
Why Do Some Get It and Others Don't?
Sunlight - If the cells in the skin are creating pigment-holding material melanin erratically than it really becomes obvious the more sun exposure one has. The cells with additional melanin simply get darker than the cells around them.
Strong sunscreen will greatly reduce the darkness and spreading of any brown spots. Think of it this way, the excessive pigment can't get darker if the sunlight can't reach it.
Hormones - Melasma is sometimes known as the "pregnancy mask" because pregnant women going through hormonal changes can get the condition. It usually goes away on its own after the pregnancy. Birth control pills can cause the same conditions for the same hormone-based reasons and as with pregnancy the malasma will
Genetics - Why doesn't everyone (ok, women!) who take birth control or get pregnant get the pregnancy mask of melasma? It seems some people are more prone to it due to genetic predisposition.
It's also possible that some women are out of the sun less or use sunscreen diligently during their pregnancy.
It's Not Too Late For More Prevention
The first step is keep it from getting worse by using sun protection. This includes the basic precautions of applying a strong SPF sunscreen on the face, always.
Also apply sunscreen to the arms, hands and neck and chest. Like it says on the package, apply in the morning and after getting wet or exercising.
Also use sunscreen on the arms, back of hands and neck and chest (called the "dÃ©colletage"). These are the next areas most likely to develop blemishes.
Also, wearing a hat when outdoors will help. Shade is SPF 100%.
How to Get Rid of Brown Facial Blemishes the Natural Way
To get rid of existing blemishes there are a variety of safe and effective treatments. Starting with the natural and least invasive are treatments involving the juice of citrus fruits, starches from potatoes and even boiled, peeled and ground almonds.
Natural healing and homeopathic sources catalog a variety of recipes and application procedures for these types of treatments.
Treating Blemishes with Lasers and Chemical Facial Peels
On the other end of the spectrum from natural cures are the use of lasers or chemical peels. Lasers can be used to target specific area or light therapy treatments can be applied to larger areas. These treatments zap the heavily pigmented cells and cause new ones to grow.
There can be some pain in the procedure (depending on the severity and area being treated) and healing usually involves a few days to weeks of peeling, redness or even scabbing and bandages.
Chemical peels can be as severe as a powerful laser treatment, removing several layers of skin and requiring long healing times, or they come in more mild forms like a glycolic peel which is based on the fruit acid formula in natural cures. Glycolic peels may need to be performed multiple times over a few months to get desired results. A medium peel solution that lies between these two bookends is a TCA peel like the Obagi Blue Peel.
Using Obagi Nu Derm To Get Rid Of Age Spots Quickly
Another very effective way to get rid of age spots that can be done at home and typically yields results in a few weeks is to use hydroquinone in over-the-counter products, which is 2%, or the prescription strength level which is 4% hydroquinone.
Probably the most well known hydroquinone wrinkle and blemish treatment is the Obagi Nu-Derm system. It's a five-step series of products that are applied morning and night according to a fixed schedule.
The theory behind the system is that the hydroquinone product, called Obagi Clear 3, will be best absorbed by the skin after the skin's been properly cleansed, prepared and pH balanced. After the application of the Obagi Clear step, moisturizing sunscreen is applied.
There are also supplemental options like tretinoin cream in various strengths (0.025%, 0.05%, 0.1%) to treat stubborn areas.
Healing and Recovery For Obagi Nu Derm
When the Nu Derm system is used as directed included all steps in the proper order the products seem to have the best results with the least redness, peeling and flaking.
The skin will definitely show a reaction to the treatment typically with some of these symptoms because the exfoliating and prescription strength products will be removing old skin cells and replacing them with new ones with less pigment, but the process is more gradual than a strong or medium chemical peel.
Can You Use Obagi Clear Alone Without the Other Nu Derm Products?
Some people elect to use only the hydroquinone-containing Obagi Clear product all by itself, either to save money or because they want to skip right to the powerful medicine. However, a look at online review skin care forums show that people who use the Obagi Clear 3 alone are more likely to complain or more severe redness, peeling and discomfort.
This could be because they're not following the directions that come with the entire system and applying the product too frequently or in too large amounts, or because they are not preparing their skin as directed and with the products designed to come before and after the steps.
Interestingly other users in online skin care review forums will tell the Obagi-Clear-only users the proper application steps and explain that their own experiences were less severe when they used the full product system as intended.
For More Information - Additional Skin Care Resources and Solutions
Visit these sites for more information about hyperpigmentation, melasma and the treatments discussed in the lens above to get rid of sun spots quickly.
- Obagi Nu Derm Pros And Cons
The Obagi Nu Derm system is discussed including pros and cons, steps required, potential side effects and timeline for seeing results.
- Obagi Skin Care Products
The official Obagi website talks about the products and steps in the Nu Derm system (informational only, no product sales).
- Wikipedia Entry on Hyperpigmentation
Understand hyperpigmenation on the cellular level and learn how reduced melanin is needed to lighten skin cells and age spots.