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Age spots are darkened areas of the skin typically caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. While these spots do not cause pain, many people want to remove them for cosmetic reasons. A variety of treatment options are available for age spots, and the best treatment for you will depend upon your individual needs. At-home treatments include over-the-counter and prescription creams, while people who need stronger treatment for age spots may want to try chemical peels, dermabrasion, cryotherapy, and laser therapy.
If you are looking for an inexpensive, at-home treatment for age spots, the best method will be a cream. Those with alpha hydroxy acids or vitamin A typically work best. These ingredients help exfoliate the skin and encourage the growth of new, pigment-free skin. Creams that also contain vitamin E are especially adept at healing and improving damaged skin.
If over-the-counter creams do not work for you, a medical professional may be able to prescribe a stronger treatment for age spots. Prescription creams typically use a strong bleaching agent to fade the age spots over time. Patients should avoid exposure to the sun when using one of these creams.
For those interested in a stronger treatment yet, dermabrasion and chemical peels can be performed by professionals to reduce the appearance of age spots. Both treatments gradually remove the upper layer of skin, where the age spots reside. These can be uncomfortable or even painful, but will provide more immediate results than other methods.
Cryotherapy may be the best treatment option if you have only a single, small grouping of age spots. This procedure involves a freezing agent, such as liquid nitrogen, which can break up the pigment causing darker coloration of the age spots. This treatment is best for those willing to take a small risk for the sake of quick and effective age spot removal. Scarring or discoloration may occur as a result.
The most effective treatment for age spots is laser therapy. This is not the best treatment for everyone, however, because it can be very expensive. As laser therapy is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not typically covered by standard insurance. You may need several sessions of laser therapy to completely remove age spots, but this treatment usually has very few negative side effects.
Before undergoing any kind of treatment for age spots, you should consult with your doctor or dermatologist. Age spots can mask cancerous growths, and once the spots have been removed, the cancer will be harder to detect. Have a thorough skin cancer screening prior to any type of age spot treatment.
A few simple precautions can help to prevent age spots from developing or worsening in the future. Most age spots are caused by sun exposure, so limiting your time in direct sunlight is an easy way to ward of these markings. You should also wear sunscreen on any exposed areas of the skin when you do go out to prevent the occurrence of both age spots and skin cancer.
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