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Age Spots: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023

What is the Age Spots?

Age spots are the appearance of small black marks on the skin, which can be mainly found in the areas of the body exposed to the sun. These spots are caused when the body produces too much melanin. Even though the exact cause remains unclear, medical professionals feel that it may be caused due to aging of the skin, overexposure to the sun or use of artificial tanning beds.

Since age spots often only appear over the skin exposed to the sun, the disease may affect the patient’s face, hands, upper back, neck and shoulders. Even though the disease can affect everyone, some people are at a higher risk than others. For instance people over the age of 40 face greater risk. Apart from the age, fairer people are at risk. People who expose skin to the sun or to the UV rays from the tanning bed are also at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Age spots are easy to detect and do not cause any physical discomfort to the patient. The doctor will be able to diagnose the condition, simply by looking at the region of the disorder. However, if a more serious condition is suspected, doctors may even conduct a biopsy on a sample from the same region.

How is the Age Spots treatment done?

Age spots are not dangerous and do not cause any physical discomfort to the person affected. It can be left without treatment, but some people want to get the treatment done nonetheless, in order to improve their appearance. There are three options for people looking to treat the age spots. The first procedure involves usage of certain medications, while the second involves surgical procedures to rectify the issue. Finally, home remedies can also be used in order to treat the age spots.

Medications include bleaching creams that can be applied on the region where the spots appear. Such creams are slow acting and usually take several months to rectify the skin condition.

Surgical and other medical procedures are also used often, but each of these procedures can lead to severe side effects. For instance, dermabrasion, cryosurgery, intense pulsed light treatment and chemical peels are often used to rectify the age spots.

Home treatments are usually less effective when compared to the bleaching creams, but they are also safer. While bleach creams may cause several side effects, over the counter creams contain hydroquinone, glycolic acid, kojic acid, which may work wonders for your skin. Additionally, people can also use cosmetic products to mask the age spots, when they step out of their homes.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Everyone suffering from age spots are eligible for the treatment. However, treatment is not mandatory, as the condition does not cause any external symptoms apart from the spots themselves. Furthermore, people suffering from the condition also do not feel any physical discomfort from the age spots.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If the medication or medical procedure used for the treatment leads to severe side effects, the person affected should try a different remedy or not seek treatment at all. People who suffer from other skin conditions unrelated to age spots, should also visit a dermatologist to determine the correct form of treatment for that disorder.

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Are there any side effects?

People undergoing medical treatment for age spots may experience several side effects, depending on the form of treatment being sought. For instance, a person undergoing treatment with skin bleach skin may become highly sensitive to ultraviolet rays from the sun. This can increase the chances of melanoma or skin cancer. This is why such people would need to use sunscreen lotions whenever they step out of their homes.

Laser treatment for removing the age spots may result in redness of the skin, swelling and even a slight burning sensation or stinging. These side effects are not very common and usually does not show up for most people undergoing the treatment.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The condition is mainly caused due to overexposure to ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun or a tan machine. In either case, patients should take precaution to limit this exposure, to prevent further age spots from appearing. A good way to limit exposure is to apply sunscreen lotions over the exposed parts of the body when stepping out. Select a sunscreen that comes with SPF 40 protection for the best results. This will not only help you keep age spots at bay, but will also reduce the chances of developing skin cancers or melanoma.

How long does it take to recover?

Recovery rate depends on a number of factors, the most important being the form of treatment being sought. In case of medications, the recovery may take a couple of months. However, in case of medical procedures such as laser treatments, the results may be instantaneous. Home remedies and over the counter creams to treat age spots may take much longer than either of the other two forms of treatment. For these products, the recovery period is usually several months.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of treatment depends on the form of treatment used. For instance, the medication and creams will cost you anywhere between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000. However, in case of laser treatments or other procedures, the cost can be drastically higher. These forms of treatments will cost anywhere between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 1 Lakh.

Over the counter medications and creams are the cheapest form of treatment for the disorder. With such products, you can keep the cost limited to under Rs. 1,000 in most cases.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Results are permanent, but the condition may recur if proper precautions are not taken. If a person ensures to use sunscreen lotion when they go out and limit exposure to UV rays, the condition will likely never come back. However, if the exposure to the sun is continued after the age spots have been removed, the condition may recur.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Natural remedies can be used to remove the age spots. For instance, freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice can be applied on the skin twice every day. Leave the juice on the skin for sometime or overnight and wash it off next morning. This will help reduce the intensity of the age spots.

If lemon juice irritates or itches your skin, youy can also try out onion juice. Apply it the same way you would the lemon juice and leave it on for some time. Wash thoroughly to get rid of the onion smell.

References

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Written ByDr. Sumit Agrawal MS - General Surgery,MCh - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,MBBSCosmetic/Plastic Surgery
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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