Age spots, also known as liver spots or solar lentigines, often become topics of conversation as we age. Their presence can trigger various emotions, mainly because our skin acts as the frontline of our appearance. However, with such attention comes a slew of myths. This article debunks some of the most common myths surrounding age spots.
Truth: The term "age spots" can be slightly misleading. While they're more common in older adults, it's not only age that causes them. They're primarily a result of prolonged sun exposure or artificial UV light (e.g., from tanning beds). Hence, even younger individuals can develop age spots if they spend significant time in the sun without protection.
Truth: Despite sometimes being called "liver spots", these skin changes have no direct correlation with the liver or liver function. The name's origin is historical, relating to an old belief about liver health, but modern science confirms there's no link.
Truth: Age spots are usually harmless. They're benign, meaning non-cancerous. However, if you notice changes in their appearance, such as rapid growth, darkening, or irregular borders, it's essential to seek a dermatologist's advice. It's crucial to differentiate between benign age spots and potentially harmful skin changes like melanoma.
Truth: Age spots are not dirt patches on your skin that can be washed or scrubbed away. They are due to excess melanin production. Using abrasive scrubs might even damage the skin further.
Truth: While you can't halt the natural ageing process, you can certainly reduce the risk of age spots. Wearing sunscreen, avoiding peak sun hours, and refraining from tanning beds can significantly reduce the chances of developing age spots.
Truth:While skin-bleaching creams can reduce the appearance of age spots, they're not the sole treatment option. Procedures such as laser therapy, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion can also be effective. It's essential to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best treatment for your skin type and condition.
Truth: While the face is a common site for age spots due to its frequent sun exposure, these spots can appear anywhere on the body, especially on areas regularly exposed to the sun like the back of hands, shoulders, and forearms.
Truth: Various skin conditions can lead to dark spots, including melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and certain types of moles. Proper identification by a professional is vital for appropriate treatment and care.
Truth: While age spots are more prominent and common in individuals with lighter skin tones, they can appear on any skin type or colour.
Truth: Age spots typically remain the same size. However, as mentioned, any noticeable changes in their appearance should prompt a dermatological consultation.
Age spots, although often benign, have become wrapped in tales and myths. By debunking these myths, we take a step closer to understanding our skin better and providing it with the care it needs. Remember, while myths can be intriguing, when it comes to skincare, it's always best to rely on scientific facts and professional advice.
If you're concerned about age spots or any skin changes, it's never a bad idea to consult with a dermatologist. They can provide guidance, assurance, and treatment options tailored to individual needs.
Remember, your skin tells a story. Let's ensure it's a tale based on truths, not myths.