Sunspots are a cosmetic condition which can cause concern for some people as they are often confused with the onset of skin cancer when in truth they are more a symptom of normal aging (hence the alternative names of Age Spots or Liver Spots). They can also be caused by excessive exposure to UV rays over a short time period, most typically from sunburn or working outside for years.
How are sunspots caused?
Sunspots are caused because UV rays, when accumulated over time, impact the pigmentation cells within the skin, which leads to surface discolouration.
The spots are not generally harmful, although they can mask other conditions which can (over time) lead to a change in the underlying structure of the skin. It is these changes that can lead to more serious conditions requiring treatment.
Dealing with sunspots
Even if they are not harmful, sunspots can be unsightly and make us feel noticeably older. In addition to using a treatment like Curaderm, it is this unsightliness that has led to a number of solutions being suggested to help reduce the signs of the blemishes – these range from applying products to the skin, solutions you can drink, or even removing the blemishes physically via a surgical procedure. These solutions accordingly vary in efficacy, cost and discomfort.
Our view is it is always worth getting any kind of new skin blemish that persists for more than a few weeks checked out by a medical professional, more so if an existing skin blemish has suddenly changed shape, profile, or colour, is bleeding or painful. It will most likely be nothing of concern (or something that can simply be treated at home with a product such as Curaderm BEC5, an ideal solution for non-melanoma type skin cancers which are the most common of the different types of skin cancers).
Reducing the likelihood of developing sunspots
A better solution is of course to try and reduce the likelihood of Sunspots appearing at all -something best tackled whilst you are younger as the impact of UV rays builds up over time. But whatever age you are, when you start taking preventative measures this can only be good for your skin.
So here is our simple Checklist to follow:
Do you work or play outside a lot during the day? If YES:
a) Apply factor 50+ suncream every two hours on exposed skin.
b) Wear a hat or cap.
c) Wear good quality polarizing sunglasses to protect your eyes too.
d) Cover up your arms with a sleeved garment if possible.
Do you drive or travel in a vehicle outside a lot each week?
a) Do not lower side windows and rest your arm on the door sill, even with the window closed (Vehicle side windows do not stop all UV rays)
b) Use a sun visor if driving into bright sunlight (ensure you can still see the way ahead!)
c) Sunroof glass offers almost no protection so if the sun is directly on you, use the sunshade to close the roof exposure.
Are you are going on holiday to a hot country or will spend a lot of time outdoors anywhere at any time of the year? UV rays are still emitted in Winter.
a) Sit under a shade when you can.
b) Do not expose your skin for more than an hour maximum at a time
c) Follow the same precautions as in Section 1)
d) Remember just because you are staying cool, for example, by bathing is the sea, this is not protecting your skin.
e) If you like to top-up your tan or get brown before you go away by using sunbeds or UV lamps, remember these give out similar harmful rays to the sun itself – the best advice really is don’t use either. Consider tanning creams instead – but who knows what those chemicals can do to us years down the line. Perhaps best to just stay pale!
Think back to your childhood and any habits you may have picked up from your parents particularly when socialising outdoors, having holidays, days-out or BBQ’s.
a) If you think they may have unintentionally exposed your skin to a lot of UV rays in the past, you need to double down on the extent to which you apply these preventive measures now.
b) If you already have skin blemishes, however small, checkout your body and become familiar with them so you can quickly spot changes and get them inspected by a health professional and treated as needed.
c) This is even more significant if you are fair skinned and have naturally light coloured or red/ginger hair.
Your body is better able to fight off any kind of illness or changes if it is in tip-top condition. Can you say this about your own health? If not:
a) Look for ways to get more regular exercise – remembering of course to cover up and protect yourself from excessive exposure to the sun.
b) Eat healthily by cutting down on fats and red meat and boosting your intake of water, fruit and vegetables.
c) Vitamins C and E are considered helpful in the prevention of Sunspots so try and naturally consume these if you can, or consider taking supplements.
d) Other supplements (and in some cases foods that can be applied to the skin to help lighten skin tone) include the good all-rounder, Aloe Vera, Black & Green Teas, Liquorice extract and milk.
And finally, if you do have Sunspots already, you can consider a range of medical and cosmetic treatments to help lessen the impact. These include:
a) Curaderm BEC5 cream applied topically can lessen the appearance of Sunspots and has the additional advantage of reducing the risk of any underlying skin condition if it terms out to be non-melanoma – the most frequent type. Curaderm can also be a good choice whilst you are waiting for treatment – it has no recorded harmful effects we are aware of and can under certain circumstances help protect the skin for a decade.
b) Surgical treatments such as skin grafts and laser removal surgery.
c) Cosmetic treatments such as chemical peeling, bleaching, micro-needling and microdermabrasion.
You now have a toolkit of actions that hopefully should help reduce any concerns you may have about Sunspots by helping reduce the risk that you will develop them, or if you do, at least the onset will be slowed down.
A Curaderm.net information resource you may wish to share with your own Doctor.