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Sun spots on the face: what causes it – and how to treat it?



If you’ve been in the sun all your life, you may have developed some sun spots on your face. These spots (also called age spots, liver spots or sun lentigines) appear as flat, smooth brown spots on areas of skin that are often exposed to the sun.

Sun spots are generally harmless areas of pigmented skin, but can easily be confused with other types of sun-related spots on the skin, including some that can actually be a sign of skin cancer. If you think you have sunspots on your face, it’s important to monitor them and have anything that looks doubtful examined by a dermatologist certified by the board.

Here’s what you need to know about sunspots, how to prevent them, how dermatologists can treat or remove them, and what signs can be a problem.

What causes sun spots on your face?

Sun spots on your face are a type of hyperpigmentation caused by UV radiation. Essentially, after exposure to the sun, your skin increases the production of melanin, the pigment that gives the skin color. Over time, some areas of your skin may develop lumps of melanin or overproduce this pigment, causing a sun spot, explains the Mayo Clinic.

These types of spots usually appear in areas of your body where you get the most sun, including the face, shoulders, hands, chest, and back of the hands. Mary L. Stevenson, MD, assistant professor at Ronald O. Perelman, Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. Sun spots are flat rather than raised, usually brown, and can appear in groups.

What is the best way to prevent sun spots?

The best way to prevent sun spots on your face is to develop and maintain solid sun protection habits. “They can be prevented by careful sun protection, including regular use of sunscreen and other forms of sun protection such as hats, sunglasses, and clothing,”

; said Dr. Nada Elbuluk, clinical assistant professor of dermatology (clinical instructor) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, tells SELBST.

This includes the daily use of broad spectrum sunscreens (sun protection factor 30 or higher), especially in areas of your body that are exposed to the sun, such as B. face, shoulders and back of the hand. According to Elbuluk, sun spots are more common in people with lighter skin, but people with darker skin tones can still develop sun-related skin damage. It is therefore important that everyone wears sunscreen regularly.

However, we know that sticking to (and reapplying) sunscreen habits is a little difficult – and even perfect use of sunscreen doesn’t protect you from 100% of the sun’s rays. For this reason, it is important to use other sun protection strategies, e.g. B. Wear sun protection clothing whenever possible in the shade and wear hats and sunglasses that block the sun.

Products to try:

  • EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 ($ 38, Dermstore)

  • Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen SPF 30 ($ 10, Amazon)

  • La Roche Posay Anthelios mineral sunscreen lotion SPF 50 ($ 22, Amazon)

What is the best way to treat sun spots?

Real sun spots are not harmful and do not need to be treated. If you decide to have your sun spots treated or removed for cosmetic reasons, you will likely need to contact a professional. Although you can certainly try some products that contain the classic whitening ingredients, such as hydroquinone, retinoids, or vitamin C, “over-the-counter products are usually not strong enough to have a significant effect on sun spots,” explains Elbuluk.


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