What to do with age spots?

The cause of age spots is well known: Too much unprotected exposure to the sun. The UV light of the sun causes free radicals which damage the cells and accelerate the aging process. This process is also known as "oxidative stress." This process takes place not only in the skin, but in the entire body. Externally, it is barely possible to detect any exposure to free radicals -- except for age spots. They occur mainly on the back of the hand, on the arms or on the face, and are an unmistakable sign of a progressive aging process.


A woman sits in a bikini with sun hat on the beach in the sand

How do age spots develop?

Age spots are an accumulation of the brown pigment called melanin, which is produced in cells called melanocytes when exposed to the sun. The brown coloration is intended to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation by converting the radiation into heat in order to protect the deeper layers of the skin from damage. The body has its own protective systems, such as antioxidants, to defend itself against free radicals. With age, however, the production of the body's protective mechanisms diminishes and the deposits as described then manifest themselves as brown spots.

Measures against age spots

Although age spots are harmless, even if they reflect the oxidative stress on the body, they do represent an aesthetic problem for many. If you want to have as few spots as possible in old age, start early with the countermeasures. The most important thing is to protect the skin from direct sunlight at an early age. A good diet with a good supply of micronutrients can also help to slow down the process and thus keep the skin young and free of spots for a long time. Toxins such as alcohol or nicotine must be avoided at all costs: They cause poor blood circulation to the skin. This causes the skin to age more quickly and to encourage the formation of age spots. Long-term use of skin creams containing vitamin E (vitamin E is an antioxidant) has shown success. These creams can delay and weaken the formation of age spots. The intake of antioxidants such as ubiquinol Q10, curcumin, alpha lipoic acid, gluthatione, resveratrol or astaxanthine not only helps against oxidative stress in general, but also against the formation of age spots.


But what to do if age spots already exist?

If the spots are only a few and light, light fruit-acid peelings can help. Be careful with peelings that are based on abrasion: Sensitive skin, especially that on the back of the hand, is prone to scarring. If the spots are already pronounced, only laser treatment can help. However, the right choice must be made here. Lasers that remove tissue are not recommended. Treatment with a ruby laser has proven the best. It "shatters" the pigments in the skin, which the body's own white blood cells then remove. As a rule, two sessions are needed for an optimal result. The treatment is recommended for winter only, as the treated skin must not be exposed to the sun for a few weeks afterwards. If you decide on such a treatment, choose a doctor with experience in this therapy. I advise against laser therapy offered by beauticians. Such a therapy belongs in the hands of an experienced doctor.

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