Age spots can creep up when you’re not looking, and often are more prominent on darker skin tones. You may suddenly notice them, but they’ve been developing for many years and are almost always the result of years of damage from sun exposure…although hormone changes like pregnancy can increase your skin’s pigment. (Before we tell you how to get rid of discoloration, we’ll remind you: Wear your sunscreen to prevent them in the first place.)
For those with paler skin, discoloration may appear pink or red. Darker skin tones, which naturally have more melanin, may see spots that are dark brown or black. There are three main treatment courses that will help to reduce discoloration, depending on how severe it is.
Hydroquinone: This topical treatment stops the enzyme that activates melanin production. Your dermatologist will likely suggest twice-a-day treatments along with retinol.
Chemical peels and light treatments: These are slightly more aggressive procedures that utilize either chemicals or intense pulsed light technology to remove the top layer of discolored skin. Some treatments can be uncomfortable and your skin will be red and flaky for a few days. (These effectively treat sun spots on the hands as well as the face.)
Ablative lasers: Stubborn or deep spots may need to be broken up by creating microscopic wounds with an ablative laser. Your skin will turn dark for seven to 10 days before healing and flaking off. Darker skin tones may experience blistering or discoloration, so be sure to consult with your physician about the right treatment for you skin.
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