Just about anyone can develop age spots, and eventually, just about everyone does. These brown, gray, or black spots that crop up as you age are not so much a result of encroaching years as they are a result of overexposure to the sun. It’s better to take steps to avoid these spots than it is to try and eliminate them later, but if such is not possible, there are a variety of methods that can potentially remove age spots.
The spots are generally found on parts of the body that have had the most exposure to ultraviolet rays. They are common on the face, arms, the back of the hands, the shoulders, and upper back. To begin the process to remove age spots, you should first consult with a qualified dermatologist to make certain that the spot is not something more serious. This is especially pertinent to fair-skinned people, and to those who notice a spot that appears seemingly out of nowhere, that is raised, or has irregular borders.
If you wish to remove an age spot, you should know that it is viewed as a cosmetic procedure, and will most likely not be covered by insurance. For that reason, if cost is a factor, you might want to simply cover the age spot rather than remove it. Doctors can prescribe bleaching creams that will sometimes fade the spot, and steroids are also a possibility. Over-the-counter creams are less effective, and as a rule their efficacy will be minimal at best.
Treatments to permanently remove age spots are not normally dangerous, however they can be cost prohibitive. A clumping of melanin, the skin pigment that causes you to tan, causes the spots. Laser therapy can destroy these areas of excess melanin production, and will not damage the surface of the skin. A number of laser treatments will be required to fully remove age spots, and the dark area should fade away over the course of several months.
Other methods of removing age spots include cryotherapy, a procedure that freezes the dark area and eliminates the unwanted pigment. There is a small danger that cryotherapy might leave a scar. In dermabrasion, a brush will rotate over your skin and remove its surface, taking away the pigment that is causing the age spot. After completion you will have a scab, but the age spot should be gone when the scab disappears. Chemical peels utilize an acid solution to burn away outer layers of skin all the way down to the age spot, after which new skin will replace that which was discolored.