Age spots are called Lentigines seniles in Latin and are one of the pigmentary disorders of the skin. These are light brown, sharply rimmed spots that most commonly appear on the back of the hand, forearms and face. The cause of the appearance of age spots is a long-term exposure to sunlight, which increases with increasing age and so the age spots usually occur only in later life; hence the name comes from.
Age spots are caused by pigment deposits in the skin and are completely harmless. Responsible for the discoloration of the skin are so-called melanocytes, specialized cells in the skin that produce the melanin whose occurrence in the skin determines our individual skin color. In particular, the age spots are accumulations of lipofuscin (so-called aging pigment), which results from the oxidation of fatty acids of the cell membrane. The cell is unable to break down this substance, so that a large number of the particles are visibly visible from the outside as an age spot.
Age spots have no disease value and can usually be removed for purely cosmetic reasons. However, there is a subtype of malignant melanoma (so-called lentigo maligna melanoma), which looks similar to the age spots confused, so that a regular check by the dermatologist is advisable in some cases.
Age spots have no disease value, the cost of a removal for purely aesthetic reasons must be borne by the patient for this reason. There are a variety of more or less effective procedures in different cost.
The easiest and cheapest thing is to prevent the development of age spots. For this purpose, a cream with a high sun protection (SPF 50) should be applied consistently on the arms and face as well as the neckline and neck even at a young age, both in summer and in winter.
The most effective method is currently the treatment by laser beams. Here, the treatment is carried out by a dermatologist who shoots a ray of light on the top skin layers with a special device, so that the pigment deposits decay and are cleared by immune cells. Another option is bleaching creams with active ingredients that lighten the age spot or stop pigmentation. These include, for example, hydroquinone or rucinol. Here, the success is visible only after a few weeks.
Another option is chemical peels, such as alpha hydroxy acids ( AHAs ), which remove the top discolored layers of skin so that they can re-form. Also, trichloroacetic acid, a slightly stronger acid, is suitable for this purpose, but the treatment should only be performed by an experienced dermatologist, as these scrubs can irritate and injure the skin very much.
Another method is the so-called dermabrasion, where the dermatologist with local anesthesia, the uppermost discolored skin layer with a kind of file milled. A similar mechanical procedure is cryotherapy ( cryotherapy ), in which the uppermost skin layers are frozen by liquid nitrogen. These die in the sequence and it can form a new, uncolored top layer. Again, the treatment should only be performed by an experienced dermatologist, as otherwise an uneven result and even injuries with scarring threaten.
Regardless of the method of treatment, sun protection after therapy is indispensable. Depending on the procedure, the sun must be completely avoided for a few weeks to months, and a cream with a high sun protection factor (SPF 50) should be applied daily. The reason for this is that the irritated by the treatment skin again accumulates pigment.
Laser treatment is most effective in combating age spots. The treatment is carried out by the dermatologist and must be reimbursed by the patient as it is a cosmetic procedure. Whether a session is sufficient or how many treatments are necessary, must be decided individually.
In the laser procedure, the doctor uses a laser with high-intensity light radiation, which penetrates into the uppermost skin layers. There, the age pigments are brought to disintegration and it is intentionally provoked an inflammatory response in the tissue. In the context of this reaction, immune cells are attracted, which carry away the decayed age pigment. The inflammatory reaction can cause a burning of the irradiated skin site, as well as a swelling is possible.
In the weeks following the treatment, the sun should be shunned and a cream with a high sun protection factor should be applied consistently, to avoid that the skin, which is sensitive to treatment, reacts with the formation of pigment spots. Another risk of the treatment is that too intense a laser irradiation, the skin is bleached too strong, so that an irregular result. For this reason, only an experienced dermatologist should perform the laser therapy.
Since age spots are a cosmetic problem without medical significance, the cost of removal itself must be borne in mind. The cost of treatment depends on the one hand on the size of the body surface to be treated and on the other how many sessions are necessary.
A laser treatment for age spots on the face can be obtained for about 70 to 150 euros, the treatment of the body depends on the area to be irradiated (from about 200-500 euros). In addition, the prices vary between the various dermatological practices offering the treatment. Here, one should not only be guided by the price, but also by how much experience the respective doctor has with the treatment. Furthermore, the doctor should always take time for an educational talk, in which he also addresses the risks and side effects of laser treatments.
Vitamin E is one of the fat-soluble vitamins and is known as an antioxidant, ie it prevents fatty acid oxidation in the skin. These oxidized fatty acids can not be recycled by the skin cell and are deposited as an age pigment. Age spots are the result.
A vitamin E deficiency thus promotes the development of age spots. Vegetable oils are rich in vitamin E, especially the wheat germ oil. These can be taken for food preparation or applied locally to the skin. Applying to the skin should be done after sun exposure. In addition, vitamin E can easily be purchased in capsule form at the drugstore or pharmacy.
Home remedies for age spots are for the most part bleaching agents that are supposed to lighten the affected skin area. The best home remedy for age spots is to prevent them. For this purpose, a sunscreen with a high SPF should be applied in summer and in winter and strong sunlight such as midday sun must be avoided.
Even if there are already age spots, a further exposure to sunlight should be avoided, otherwise the treatment may not be very successful. A very old home remedy for age spots is buttermilk, which is applied to the affected areas of the skin, where it is to act. Due to the lactic acid contained the age spots should be bleached. Similarly, the citric acid contained in lemon juice, which can be applied several times daily to the affected area of the skin.
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Aloe vera gel promotes the skin renewal and the rejection of the top, discolored skin layers and can be used against age spots. Even a mixture of equal parts of yogurt and honey should have a whitening effect, the paste can be left on the skin for about 30 minutes and then washed off. Another home remedy is Vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant. It can be taken as edible oil or in capsule form or applied to the skin directly after exposure to sunlight.
Both in the drugstore and in the pharmacy, there is a wide selection of creams to help against pigmentation. The price range extends from less than 10 euros to the high double-digit and even three-digit range. The decisive factor is the active ingredient, which is supposed to have a bleaching effect. Thus, existing age spots are lightened and the formation of new discolorations prevented.
One of these agents, for example, the hydroquinone, which can be prescribed by the doctor. Also, rucinol or kojic acid act similarly. With these creams, however, a little patience is required, because the desired effect occurs only after a few weeks. In addition, especially sensitive skin reacts partially irritated to the bleaching creams. It is important that the bleaching cream is applied only to the discolored skin, otherwise the entire skin brightens and an uneven result is the result.
The skin is often especially sensitive on the face. Whatever the method, removal of age spots is always associated with irritation and stress for the skin.
For this reason, you should always entrust the treatment to an experienced dermatologist. This applies, on the one hand, to the laser treatment; if the intensity of the laser radiation is too high, the result can again become irregular.
Excessively high levels of radiation can also cause severe skin injuries, which only heal with scarring. The same applies to chemical peels with fruit acid or trichloroacetic acid, which can be downright burned if used improperly, which can be associated with permanent skin damage.
The same danger exists with the wrong application of cryotherapy or dermabrasion. In the case of bleaching creams, care should be taken that they are applied only to the dark discolored spots of age and not to the entire face. Otherwise, the entire face will fade a few nuances, but as the "healthy" skin becomes lighter, the spots and bumps remain.
With home remedies such as buttermilk or citric acid you can not do much wrong, but here is the success only after a few weeks. Again, the bleaching agents may irritate the skin, in which case the treatment should be discontinued and, if necessary, a dermatologist should be consulted. For all methods of removing age spots, it is most important to avoid sunlight exposure after treatment.
Depending on the type of treatment, as with lasers, sunlight must be avoided for several months and a sunscreen with a high SPF applied daily. The reason for this is that the upper skin layers irritated by the treatment tend to become more liable to pigment deposits due to sunlight.
Basically, when treating age spots on the hands, the same thing has to be considered as in the face, as the skin on the hands is also relatively thin and sensitive. The consultation and treatment should be done by an experienced dermatologist. Even if it sounds unusual at first, attention should be paid to sufficient sun protection on the back of the hand. This should be renewed regularly even after washing your hands, to prevent the re-formation of age spots.
Age spots are benign pigmentation discolored, especially in older age. They occur preferentially on areas of the skin that often come into contact with solar radiation. Click here for the topic: age spots
Age spots are a natural change in the skin that manifests in the course of life. In this case, the pigment deposits preferably occur in the face, as this is often exposed to UV radiation. Here you get to the topic: age spots on the face.
Age spots are benign pigmentation of the skin. They occur increasingly in advanced age and show up especially on the hands. The sunlight plays an important role in the appearance. Click here for the topic: Age spots on the hand