In this article, I’m going to be talking about how to fade sunspots. The medical term for sunspots is solar lentigo and these appear in sun exposed areas. They’re related to lifetime exposure to the sun and they are smooth, brown flat patches on the skin. They’re otherwise benign, meaning they’re not dangerous. They can be left alone but it’s important that if you have these, you pay attention to them. If they change shape suddenly, change colors suddenly, become elevated, painful, if they start bleeding, or oozing any kind of strange change in the way that they look, definitely go and see a dermatologist. Have a skin check. Those would be signs of a more worrisome dark mark on the face and while they’re benign, the more sunspots you have that’s kind of an indicator that you have a lot of sun damage.
If you’ve had a lot of sun exposure in your lifetime, it’s sort of an indicator that you may have a greater risk of skin cancer so it’s a good idea to check your skin, pay attention, and bring any suspicious lesions to the attention of your dermatologists.
Formation of sun spots
Some spots form because ultraviolet radiation causes upregulation and pigment production and some of the cells in the skin start making clumps of the pigment melanin and therefore these areas of the skin that appear darker. Sunspots crop up like on your cheeks, your upper chest and the backs of your hands. I cannot emphasize enough prevention is key. Even if you have some spa so you’re not happy with don’t give up on the prevention Journey. By prevention I mean protecting your skin from the sun all year every day by wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. Find the best sunscreen for face and body!
Sunscreen alone now is not enough. You also need to wear a broad brimmed hat, Sunglasses, and sun- protective clothing. A lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that sun gets scattered and reflected off the surfaces and even if you think part of your skin is covered, maybe getting exposure from the ground even. So really take a multi-pronged approach to sun protection, don’t Sunbath obviously do not get it to a tanning bed. These are all things that will just cause more sunspots to appear. They will make existing sunspots appear even more prominent and they will increase your risk of skin cancer so due diligence by your sun protection. And again, make sure you’re paying attention to any spots that you have, and monitoring them for changes. And if those changes occur, bring it to the attention of your dermatologist.
What can you do to get rid of existing sunspots?
To be frank, a lot of products that are aimed at hyperpigmentation, things like licorice root, niacinamide, these are not really strong enough to help sunspots but they can even out complexion and brighten the skin too. In a lot of hyperpigmentation products in the market, there is this one ingredient that does help in fading hyperpigmentation and sunspots is hydroquinone. Hydroquinone you can buy over the counter here it’s not as strong as what you would get with a prescription and I have to be honest, the stronger stuff the prescription stuff is better for sunspots, but it’s worth trying the over the counter stuff if you want to. I recommend just treating the sunspot alone with hydroquinone. Just put the hydroquinone directly on the sun spot.
Now hydroquinone can be very irritating so I recommend introducing it into your skincare routine very slowly and a good way to introduce it is to try it just to the spot just a tiny little bit and just to the spot at nighttime. Just put a tiny drop in the center of the spot and then spread it out to the periphery. Try it at nighttime. Maybe every other night for a few weeks. See how you tolerate it and if it’s not too irritating, then bump it up to every night and see how that goes. And after that you can even try using it twice a day.
Vitamin A is the other active ingredient that can definitely help sun spots. The prescription stuff is the best specifically Tretinoin, has been shown to improve sunspots. But the other topical vitamin A compound, a derivative of retinoic acid or tretinoin is adapylene. And that actually has been shown to improve sunspots on the back of the hand. So that’s a good one to also consider giving a try. Again, I recommend just putting it on same way as hydroquinone, i.e. nighttime, just to see how you tolerate it. And you can even try bumping that up to twice a day as well. Adapylene online prescription Tretinoin is more stable in the presence of UV rays so you can actually use it during the day. So you could use it twice a day if you tolerated it.
When it comes to retinols, you might get some modest benefit from using a retinol as well so those two are worth a try. I specifically recommend the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream the fragrance free version. This is really good for the backs of the hands because something about vehicle by itself really helps kind of brighten things up and it’s really easy to tolerate. it’s a slow release formulation so it’s less irritating. You know I can’t comment on to what extent that’s necessarily going to improve the sunspots but it’s a topical vitamin A that you know, I would say worth considering pretty affordable.
Don’t forget to check out how to use retinol?
Now if you’re really motivated, you actually can combine the adapylene and hydroqinone treating the same spot together. As with anything, the more ingredients you use, the more likely you are to have it your irritation. To introduce both ingredients again very slowly and you can use both of them twice a day to that spot. That’s a more aggressive approach but you might get better results. The key though is that if you develop irritation, you definitely want to back off anything, that’s irritating to your skin can worsen hyperpigmentation issues. But if it’s not irritating to you, then the combination of the two is something that you might want to give a try.
When it comes to the prescription stuff, you have prescription tretinoin and prescription hydroquinone and then you have combination products like Tri Luma that has tretinoin hydrocodone and a low potency anti-inflammatory to kind of calm down irritation. That medication works well for sunspots in many cases. Do you know though that with these topicals, the hyperpigmentation and the sun spots can come back after you’ve used the product and gotten benefit especially if you then go out in the sun. So make sure that you continue the aggressive side of protection with and after treatment.
The other thing your dermatologist can do for you to improve the look of sunspots is a chemical peel. Now there are a ton of products you can buy in the store. That are labeled as peels but none of these are at strengths and concentrations that will actually address this issue. The in-office chemical peels are really the way to go and there are a variety of them. They can help bring up sun spots, things like a justner’s peel. Here is all you need to know about chemical peel!
The other treatment that works quite well for sun spots is laser therapy. Lasers do something called selective photos thermolysis, meaning they selectively target those cells that have the clumps of pigment in them and destroy them. When you have a sunspot treated with laser what will happen is spot will first turn white and then it will kind of crust up and flake off and fade away and you can get really nice results with laser treatment for sunspots.
There’s also cryotherapy basically liquid nitrogen freezing spray that is directed at the sunspot less precise than the laser. And it can be painful force of course but you can see pretty good results with that as well, kind of the same process the spot crusts up and fades away. One thing to keep in mind though with chemical peels and lasers, so you have prevention with sun protection and then you have these treatment modalities, either topical medications or procedures. With the treatment modalities, one thing to be aware of is that all of them either the topical and then of course the procedures can be irritating.
Whenever you have irritation, you have more of a risk for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and you have to be really careful when you go out in the sun obviously. But you also have to be aware of the sun exposure that comes through the window. UVA comes through window glass and can really make your journey to fading your sunspots kind of go in the wrong direction. It’s subtle, but it definitely can play a role. And it’s a good idea to again daily wear sunscreen even if you’re not going outside and you’re mostly indoors.
I recommend wearing a mineral sunscreen that is tinted. The reason for this is not mineral sunscreens tend to be less irritating so reduces the risk of irritation from the sunscreen. And they offer good broad spectrum protection against UVA and some mineral sunscreens may protect a little bit against blue light as well. Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum and we have increasing evidence to show that blue light contributes to hyperpigmentation. So protecting against that is also a good idea. And beyond the mineral sunscreens active ingredients is anchored titanium dioxide in the sunscreen the key with the tinted is tinted sunscreens have an ingredient called iron oxides, which can protect against that’s appropriate mentioning wavelengths of visible light, the blue light. Also will come through window glass from the sun and actually to a small, possibly meaningless extent also comes from like our devices and stuff. The main source that you have to worry about is sun.