It may seem silly to think about sunspots during a pandemic when people are spending most of their time inside. But eventually, you’ll have to venture out, and that means going out in the sun. So, when you head out into the glorious sunshine for a little fresh air, you’re at risk for getting sunspots.
What Are Sunspots?
So, what are sunspots, and how do you get them? Sunspots are flat, brown spots that appear o as a result of sun exposure. This happens because UV rays contain radiation that causes pigmented skin cells called melanocytes to multiply.
They vary in size and shape, but if you notice a spot getting bigger or become raised from the skin, speak to your doctor. That might mean they have become cancerous. Though sunspots are most often seen in people with especially fair skin over the age of 40, they can appear on anyone.
Let’s be honest— we all miss the sunshine when we’re stuck inside. Taking some time outside is totally fine, as long as you take the proper precautions. Besides the obvious right now of wearing a mask or face shield and socially distancing, you should consider adding some sun protection so you can avoid those unwanted sunspots on your beautiful skin.
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That protection you’re looking for is sunscreen. It’s non-negotiable, no matter how long you’re planning to be outside. Even if it’s raining or cloudy, it’s best to wear it anyway. The UV rays don’t care about the clouds or rain, and they can burn you.
Did you know that water amplifies UV rays? Well, it does, so going swimming won’t mitigate the sunlight either. If you’re heading to the pool or the beach, remember to reapply your sunscreen often.
If you’re trying to avoid sunspots but are worried that sunscreen might worsen an ongoing skin condition or cause you to break out, there are sunscreens made for sensitive skin. Your dermatologist may also be able to recommend certain brands based on your skin issues. There are also lotions and makeup that contain sunscreen, which can keep you safe and looking cute at the same time.
Another thing to consider when venturing out is staying hydrated. Make time to drink water and rehydrate from the sweat and other fluids you lose in the heat. Besides your skin, water has amazing benefits for your entire body. So, there’s no downside to carrying a cute, portable cup or bottle of water and staying healthy.
When you’re done for the day, gently cleanse your face and apply a good moisturizer to help it bounce back from the dehydrating effects of the sun.
Who Do Sunspots Affect?
Many people think they’re immune to sunspots because they have naturally dark skin. But this is false. Having more pigmentation in your skin cells doesn’t stop UV rays or the damage they can potentially do to your face.
Besides sunscreen, you can also protect yourself by wearing wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs. Try to avoid direct sunlight between the hours of the day when the sun is strongest between 10 AM and 3 PM.
Luckily for you, there aren’t any. Most sunspots are harmless, though you may not like their appearance. If you’re worried about a raised sunspot, talk to your doctor about it just to be safe, but it’s likely just a skin discoloration. Both at-home treatments and ones administered by professionals are generally safe, but for the medical treatments, as with all medical treatments, there can be some risk involved.
If you notice that the appearance of your sunspot has gotten darker, larger, has an irregular border, becomes itchy, inflamed, red, begins bleeding, or has changed in color, talk to your doctor about it.
Treating Pre-Existing Sunspots
It’s no secret that kids aren’t always as cautious as adults when it comes to protecting against sunspots. Chances are, you’re reading this because you already have some sunspots you’d like to see disappear. In the future, taking these preventative steps can help you avoid adding more sunspots to your collection, but for the ones you have now, consider using a face mask.
Face masks have powerful antioxidants that enhance your skin and protect against future sunspots. There are tons of benefits that come with different types of face masks, but masks that contain vitamin C offer some of the greatest benefits when it comes to neutralizing sunspots.
Vitamins A, C, and E have all been acknowledged by skincare experts as beneficial for your skin and helpful in reducing sunspots’ appearance. Vitamin C can help inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which prevents the production of the melanin that can cause dark spots in the first place.
These antioxidants allow the skin to repair itself when sun damage occurs. Vitamin C calms the red and swollen parts of the skin to even out your complexion.
Effects of Vitamin C:
- Vitamin C is acidic and helps exfoliate your skin. This exfoliation removes the dead skin cells from the surface, leaving your skin looking smooth.
- Vitamin C also helps hydrate your skin and helps you retain moisture, so it’s an awesome addition for a plumper and more youthful look.
- Vitamin E can also help protect you against sun damage and sunspots, especially when combined with vitamin C.
So, what kind of face masks should you try?
Gleamin offers an amazing clay mask rich in vitamin C and turmeric, along with plenty of other helpful ingredients for gorgeous, glowing skin. This clay mask is suitable for all skin types, and frequency of use will be the only thing that differs. For those who struggle with dry skin, it makes sense to use this hydrating face mask two to three times a week, whereas, for those with oily skin, once or twice a week is sufficient.
Gleamin’s facial mask incorporates a lot more than clay and vitamin C. It also contains aloe vera to calm your skin, especially if you’re wrestling with a sunburn or unwanted sunspots. It’s no wonder that people have been using the aloe plant for hundreds of years as a cure for too much sun exposure.
Turmeric is another great ingredient to help repair any UV damage your skin has sustained and give your skin that bright, radiant glow you’ve been craving. The most important thing to remember is that a face mask cannot be used in lieu of sunscreen. For healthy skin and to avoid sunspots, you need to use a healthy combination of both.
Most face masks are quick, soothing, and easy to use, like Gleamin’s. So, you’ll never have to worry about complicated directions or with a long-term commitment. Most face masks simply require you to apply it to your freshly washed face, allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, rinse it off with warm water, pat dry, and voila! They’re quick and easy but yield fabulous results.
Another option is apple cider vinegar, which contains acetic acid and can help smooth and even out your skin’s appearance. Others have recommended tiny bags of green tea or their extract to help with sunspots. In the same vein, black tea may also have a positive effect on skin when applied two times per day. Some researchers are studying the effects of lactic acid on lightening sunspots, so face masks might include buttermilk or milk.
It’s no secret that people have been using lemon juice for years to lighten both their skin and hair color. Lemon juice is often found in skin creams and lotions that aim to lighten dark sunspots but remember, the acidity of lemon juice can dry out your skin if it is sensitive. Also, make sure to keep it out of your eyes because that will sting.
While the treatments listed above can be effective, they are home remedies. If you’re serious about looking for a treatment that can reduce sunspots, you may end up turning to professional treatments, which should always be performed by a certified and trained professional.
- Laser resurfacing involves light beams that remove the layers of skin damaged by the sun’s rays. Depending on the severity of your sunspots, the treatment can last between 30 and 120 minutes. Healing from the process takes some time, usually somewhere between two to three weeks.
- Another option is intense pulse light, which uses light pulses to target your sunspots. Unlike laser resurfacing, this process can take 30 minutes and is virtually pain-free for most patients.
- If you’re looking for an even shorter process, cryotherapy may be the best option. It removes sunspots by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. Your practitioner may use nitrous oxide instead because it’s a less aggressive process and decreases the likelihood of blistering. It often takes well to the skin, and the process lasts for a few minutes.
- Chemical peels are another option to consider if you have a higher tolerance for pain. An acidic solution goes on your skin and is peeled off to make room for new skin cells. Chemical peels are known to be painful and cause a stinging sensation. This is not for the faint of heart.
- You can also consider microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is a gentler process than chemical peels and removes the outer layer of skin then uses an instrument to suction up the skin they’re removing.
It often takes about an hour and doesn’t usually cause any pain. Your face may feel tight afterward, but that doesn’t last for very long and is a positive sign that your treatment worked. You can talk to your doctor or a dermatologist about what kind of treatment, either at home or from a professional, is right for you.
Sunspots are harmless, but we understand that their appearance can be annoying, especially when they’re popping up on your face. If you’re unhappy with your “new little spotty friends,” try some of these remedies to have brighter, clearer skin today.
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