Taking a walk in the sun is fun and games until you notice the first sun spots. Yes, we all enjoy a good walk on a sunny day, and we all know that the sun gives us a lot of vitamin D. But, what about the damaging effect sun has on your skin?
Sun spots are also known as liver spots, solar lentigo and age spots. They make you look old, and experts believe that these spots indicate an increased risk of cancer and other health conditions linked to UV rays.
A study published in the medical journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that ultraviolet rays cause about 80 percent of the visible aging signs on sin. The study involved 298 women, and took into consideration their stress, diet and smoking habits.
Another study involving twins with identical genes found that the twin who spent more time in the sun looked 11 years older than her twin.
In this article we will focus on sun pots and the natural ways to keep your skin healthy and spotless. It’s time to learn more about the natural prevention of UV-related skin damage.
Sun spots occur when the pigment in your skin starts to collect in areas that have been damaged due to high sun exposure and sun damage.
These spots get darker over time, and commonly occur in men and women aged 55 and more. Sun spots may also occur in younger people whose skin is damaged a lot.
Signs and symptoms of sun spots
Skin spots occur in different forms, and they all have a distinct appearance, shape and color.
Lentigines are also known as sun spots, age spots and liver spots. These spots are slightly bigger than freckles, and their color ranges between almost black and light tan. Red or white sunspots on skin aren’t actually sun spots. Their shape is irregular, and you can spot these in people of every skin type.
Freckles are spot that become dark in summer months. These spots fade or disappear in winter. Freckles may not be dangerous, but they may indicate a high risk of skin cancer.
Melisma is common in women in their 20s and 30s. The irregular dark patches occur on the forehead or other skin areas.
According to experts, they are caused by hormonal imbalances. Excessive sun exposure makes them worse. The spots aren’t itchy or sore. They are just darker than your skin.
Causes and risk factors
Sun spots occur in people of all ages, genders, lifestyles and backgrounds. However, there are a few risk factors that may increase your chance of having sun spots.
- People with fair skin are more prone to skin damage caused by the sun. Having dark skin tone means having more melanin. Melanin blocks the ultraviolet rays related to skin damage.
Chemists and scientists at the University of California-Riverside conducted an animal-based research. They found that fair-skinned people have a higher risk of damage caused by sun. However, the type of skin pigment found in fair-skinned or red-haired people increase the risk of damage caused by UV rays.
- Aging is also a factor. Once you hit 50, your skin is prone to stress and damage. It’s thin and less elastic, and the blood vessels in its layers are fragile. The fatty layer under your skin becomes thin, increasing your risk of injury.
- Having a hobby that includes sun exposure also leads to more sun spots. This applies to those who do outdoor spots (hiking) and indoor activities (tanning) expose your skin to increased damage.
- Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication make your skin sensitive to sun. Allergy medication, painkillers and acne treatments have this effect on skin.
This also applies to products that improve your skin complex and reduce skin damage. Anti-aging skin care contain alpha hydroxyl acid. Studies conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration found that people who use AHA creams have skin that’s 18 percent more sensitive to sun rays.
- Poor immune response or chronic diseases affect your skin’s ability to resist and repair damage related to sun spots, wrinkles, lines and aging signs.
Check up your skin. That’s the first thing you should do. If you can’t determine the condition on your skin, consult a doctor or dermatologist.
Do sun spots indicate cancer?
Sun spots shouldn’t be considered a sign of skin cancer or other serious health issue. However, this doesn’t apply to moles. Moles that tend to change their shape and color shouldn’t be ignored. Consult your doctor immediately.
Pay attention to solar keratosis or actinic keratosis. These spots are clear, red, pink or tan and feel rough to the touch. This may not be a sign of cancer, but these spots are definitely a step closer to skin cancer.
How to recognize skin cancer?
Constant skin exposure increases your risk of cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology provided a few tips on how to recognize skin cancer. Pay attention to the following changes:
- New moles or moles that look different than other moles on the skin; Pay attention to moles that change their shape, color and size
- Growths with a dome shape
- Scaly and dry skin patches
Consult your doctor if spots on your face:
- Look different than similar marks
Your dermatologist will recommend a few treatments with different price, invasiveness and duration. Sun spots tend to fade on their own over time. Don’t forget this.
Cream and lotion
Some products rely on chemical or physical exfoliation. Others contain ingredients that lighten skin color, such as hydroquinone, vitamin C, niacinamide, licorice and mulberry extract.
The efficacy of these products depends on their list of active ingredients and their concentration.
Laser treatments are a common option. Cryotherapy is often recommended by dermatologists. Microdermabrasion or chemical peel removes the outer layer of your skin.
Microdermabrasion may take up to four months, and 40 percent of patients say their age spots had disappeared. Chemical peels lightened age spots by 50 percent in 46 percent of people.
5 natural ways to treat sun spots
1. Exfoliate skin
There are a lot of scrubs and brushes at the nearest drugstore. But you can make your own using sugar. Experts at Michigan State University says sugar has anti-aging effect and brightens skin discolorations. Combine a cup of organic granulated sugar and ½ cup of coconut oil. Massage your skin, and rinse it well.
Dry skin is more prone to damage. Coconut oil is a good option. Vitamin E heals skin and reduces any skin damage. This oil will help you prevent premature aging.
3. Anti-aging skin-friendly diet
Hippocrates says food should be our medicine. Some foods are rich in beneficial compounds, antioxidants and essential nutrients. Eat foods that contain the following nutrients:
Vitamin C is found in citruses, tomatoes, sweet red peppers and broccoli.
Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds and avocado.
Yellow, red and orange-colored veggies are rich in carotenoids. Your body turns carotenoids in vitamin A.
4. Topical applications of vitamins
This reduces free radical damage and prevent skin damage and discoloration. Vitamin C products with 10 percent of this vitamin have the power to reduce wrinkles and even out skin tone.
Vitamin A reduces sun damage and signs of aging.
There are so many natural skin care serums and creams. Most of them contain vitamin C and A.
5. Stay hydrated (green tea)
Your skin is 64 percent water which is why you should drink plenty of it. Try to drink around 8 glasses of water every day.
A study found that drinking two cups of green tea every day reduces redness and damage caused by sun exposure. Green tea has the power to prevent long-term skin damage.
Polyphenols in green tea can be viewed as the fountain of youth for your skin.
The American Skin Association suggests that you try the following strategies:
1. Avoid peak hours of the sun
They refer to the period between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. Wear the right sunscreen
Use products rated as having a SPF of at least 15. Apply it on your skin about half an hour before going out.
3. Change your clothes
Always wear a hat and sunglasses. Wear pants and long sleeves whenever possible.