Hyperpigmentation on your skin can come in many forms, from freckles to post-acne dark marks. They might all seem similar, but the mechanics of how they form, how long they take to show up, and how you treat them can vary. One of the most frustrating types of hyperpigmentation is what is known as age spots.
As the name suggests, this form of pigmentation shows up over time. In essence, they are a form of UV damage, similar to freckles, only these are the direct result of cumulative sun exposure. When your skin is unprotected and exposed to UV light, it produces more melanin (a.k.a. pigment) to protect itself from the UV radiation.
Age spots can happen to any skin tone, but are most common in those with light skin. They typically are flat, oval shaped, and appear in clusters. Sometimes those spots can overlap and cause a much larger patch of pigmentation. You’ll usually find them in the areas that see the most sun, like your hands, face, shoulders, and chest.
Fortunately, avoiding excessive sun damage and diminishing the look of existing age spots is relatively simple, as long as you follow a three-pronged approach: Prevent, Correct, Protect. Keep reading to learn how you can address these dark spots at every age.
While there’s no guarantee you can completely avoid hyperpigmentation, minimizing your time in the sun is always a bright idea. Wear SPF daily, both when you are outdoors and inside — remember, windows do not provide sun protection, so just because you’re in the car doesn’t mean your skin is safe.
Look for a moisturizer with SPF for your day-to-day, like the Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream SPF 30. If you plan on being outdoors for extended periods of time, opt for a higher level of protection, like the broad spectrum SPF 50+ found in our Super Fluid Daily UV Defense Sunscreen. And, don’t apply it to just your face — your hands, neck, and chest can be just as exposed, so treat them the same way you would your face.
If you’re already seeing age spots pop up, you need to add in a treatment step that will help break up the pigment that’s showing on your skin. By exfoliating your skin’s surface, it helps break up those melanin deposits and minimizes the severity of the pigmentation. We created the Clearly Corrective regimen of products for just this fix. First, use the Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser to restore fresh, even-toned skin. Follow with the Clearly Corrective Brightening & Soothing Treatment Water to prepare skin, promoting a smoother texture and more radiant appearance, then the Clearly Corrective Brightening & Smoothing Moisture Treatment to hydrate dry skin as it helps even out skin tone. Last, apply the Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution on areas of concern for targeted action (such as intense, stubborn spots), or apply it over the entire face and decollete for preventative action (such as blotchiness and hyperpigmentation).
Once you’ve gotten those spots under control, make sure to protect yourself against future ones by doubling down on SPF. You already know your skin is prone to hyperpigmentation, so staying out of the sun is priority number one. Invest in a protective hat — preferably one made with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) fabric — that you’ll feel good wearing daily and stick to the shade whenever possible. Wear that SPF religiously and don’t forget to reapply every two hours — or more if you’re sweating or in the water.
Remember, age spots are most commonly due to sun damage. Do the sun-smart thing and protect yourself from UV rays and you’ll find your risk for age spots will decrease, your skin will look and feel younger, and be generally healthier and more vibrant.