as ‘liver spots’, sun spots (solar lentigos) are the bane of many sun
worshippers. These brown macules are caused by an over-production of melanin because
of excessive sun exposure.
Unfortunately, the bad ways of your youth will manifest in later years as sun spots. With age, they increase in number and tend to stay. Smooth and flat sun spots are harmless, but unsightly. Those that are raised and rough should be assessed by a dermatologist as they may be a precursor to cancer.
typically appear on the face, chest, legs, arms and dorsal hands. As common as
brown sun spots are, white spots also occur. White spots are hypopigmented
lesions which means that the sun has stripped the skin of its pigment. This can’t
But help is at
hand. This is what you can do.
Apply sunblock twice daily, 30 minutes before going outside. If you’ve been swimming, reapply your sun block immediately. Wear protective clothing (long sleeves) and a wide brimmed hat. But importantly, avoid the sun during the peak times of 10am to 4pm.
Topical lightening creams
available over the counter. Creams that contain kojic acid, licorice, mulberry
extract and vitamin C are said to be effective. Stronger creams containing
hydroquinone and retinol require a prescription.
cost-effective, quick and often effective treatment, especially for rough and
raised sun spots. Liquid nitrogen may, however, leave a white mark.
acid peels will lighten sun spots and even out the skin colour with time. Rather
do this treatment in winter.
A variety of lasers may be used on smooth, flat sun spots. As such, the laser will shatter the melanin production and initially the sun spots will appear dark before fading. Winter is a good time for this treatment.
Topical creams available from Lasermed to lighten sun spots:
Neostrata: Enlighten Range; Skin Tech: Blending Cream, Atrofillin; Obagi: Pro C Serum, Exoderm, Exoderm Forte, Blend FX; Zone: Day and Night Creams; Avéne: D-Pigment Cream
Lasermed stocks these sunblocks:
Photoderm, Skin Tech Melablock, Obagi Professional C, Avéne