My granddaughter pointed out that I had more brown spots on my cheeks since coming back from vacation. Starting my tan before leaving didn’t seem to prevent my age spots from becoming darker. Do skin lightening creams really work in getting rid of age spots?
Age spots, or liver brown spots, develop over time due to the cumulative exposure to ultraviolet sun rays and the natural aging process that causes outer skin layer, or epithelial cell, death. Most deeply positioned spots are a collection of the debris from the breakdown of these dead cells which accumulates in between living cells. This debris gets caught and the body’s defense mechanism packages these irritating substances into sealed pockets, walling them off from the nearby healthier cells. The more cells that die, the more brown spots (cell packages) develop and start to stick together, becoming darker, larger, and more visible. Some brown spots may be more superficial (closer to the surface) and can be piles of old cells that build up, a living cluster of cells we call moles, precancerous cells, or even skin cancer cells.
If you want your skin to feel smoother, look more radiant, and regain that healthier and younger one-color look, your sun exposure must cease. It’s rarely too late for even the late-middle-aged person to do things to rejuvenate their skin, but to reverse the years of damage some treatments may be required. Many of the strongest skin whitening creams, like the prescription-types that contain hydroquinone, may help reduce the appearance of some spots by regulating melanocytes (pigment-producing cells). However, hydroquinone requires daily applications and its long term use remains a health concern. Over the counter skin whitening creams are a waste of money and can contain unproven products; safety is also an issue in these unregulated distribution market places.
A person who has large and very dark brown spots frequently require more than just topical creams to rejuvenate their skin. Chemical peels or a laser peel can be very effective in removing more superficial spots and can help tighten & smooth out rough textured skin anywhere on the body including the face, arms, & chest. However, for the deeper positioned brown spots, the use of Intense Pulsed Light, IPL, treatments are usually needed. IPL sends light energy down through the skin layers where the energy is then absorbed by the pigment within the brown spots. This light energy is naturally converted into heat energy, essentially blowing up and opening these sealed packages that contain dead cell debris. Finally, this process initiates a low grade inflammatory response that triggers the immune system to send white blood cells, called phagocytes, to clean things up, eventually dumping these digested compounds out through the kidneys for disposal.