Ladies, sun spots may betray your age

Published On: Feb 07 2012 01:54:09 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 21 2012 05:03:52 PM EST

iStock/erslerersler

(NewsUSA) - Women ages 30 and older are growing increasingly aware of new wrinkles with each passing year. Yet, evidence suggests that sun spots may have as much of an impact on age-related appearance as wrinkles.

Nearly 63 percent of women older than age 35 experience age or sun spots, discolorations and uneven skin tone. The dark side? The problem reflects your apparent age.

"Getting a clear, even skin tone without discoloration is just as important as wrinkle-fighting to achieving a rejuvenated, youthful appearance," says Dr. Ellen Marmur, prominent New York City dermatologist and author of "Simple Skin Beauty." "To some patients, it's even more important."

Dermatologists like Marmur call it hyperpigmentation, but its various types are commonly known as age spots, sun spots, liver spots, freckles and melasma, brown patches of skin triggered by a hormone imbalance. Age spots, sun spots and liver spots are all the same ailment -- pouches of melanin where the skin pigment has overproduced and dumped uneven amounts, the majority of which are a result of sun damage.

According to Marmur, the two most used topical treatments for discoloration are hydroquinone and retinoids, which both may have irritating side effects and require a prescription. However, there are new alternative, over-the-counter solutions that are clinically proven to work quickly without the same risky side effects.

But to treat the long-term problem, sufferers of dark spots should also heed the following sun advice:

* Wear sunscreen year-round with an SPF of 30.

* For prolonged sun exposure, get a wide-brimmed hat to wear outdoors.

* Neutralize stubborn spots with concealer.

* Beware of products that bleach skin, as this can cause white spots, another form of discoloration.

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