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8 Ways To Stop Sun Spots

Sun Care & Self-Tanning

8 Ways To Stop Sun Spots 8 Ways To Stop Sun Spots 8 Ways To Stop Sun Spots

None of us is immune to sun damage. Whether you’re spending a long day at the beach or walking to the train station, your skin reacts to the sun the same way. In fact, residents of the United States increase sun damage to their skin by 10 percent each successive decade starting at the age of 18, and those with fair skin, light hair and blue or green eyes are much more likely to incur dark spots and damage during their adulthood. How you protect your skin is the real game changer, helping determine if you burn or develop sun spots.

Your skin’s first defense against sun exposure is to produce melanin, a pigment that helps keep damage from ultraviolet rays at bay and that results in augmented skin tone after long hours spent outdoors. Sometimes, skin produces dark sun spots, which can appear in three primary forms: ephelides, lentigines and melasma. Which of the versions you develop depends on a cocktail of sunlight, genetics, hormones and skin tone.

Affectionately called freckles by some, ephelides develop from sunlight but are the result of genetic predisposition. Those with pale skin and light blond or red hair are more likely to develop ephelides, which appear as dark, symmetrical circular spots on the skin much like solar lentigines. By contrast, solar lentigines are smooth brown spots that measure between one and three centimeters. Solar lentigines occur when extended periods spent in the sun cause photodamage of the skin.

Yet another result of UV exposure is the creation and darkening of melasma, commonly called “pregnancy mask.” These more uniformly spread, hyperpigmented splotches have a more targeted demographic: women, particularly those who possess deeper skin tones, are pregnant or are taking hormonal birth control pills. You don’t have to be pregnant to develop the so-called pregnancy mask.

So how do you put the brakes on developing these telltale signs of sun damage?

If you employ a few key tricks when enjoying the summer sunshine, you can stay protected from harmful UV rays and still get your daily dose of vitamin D. As a general rule, incorporate sunscreen into your routine daily, whether it’s the middle of winter or a balmy 90 degrees outside.

In terms of prevention, a healthful diet can be incredibly advantageous in keeping spots at bay. Consuming vitamins A, C and D in the form of supplements or in your daily meals can improve the skin’s defense against UV rays and their aging effects.

Ingesting foods that abound in antioxidants, like ripe cranberries or your daily glass of Burgundy, may also fortify the skin against UV damage. Fruits and vegetables containing carotenoid and lycopene antioxidants are particularly powerful weapons against dark spots, so reach for tomatoes, watermelon and carrots for a fresh and sun-safe snack.

If you’ve already gained a few spots here and there, regular application of apple cider vinegar, lemon, chamomile astringent or a concoction of baking soda and water to your face will diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Even indoor activities merit some sun protection; simply because you’re plugging away at the office instead of basking in the sun doesn’t mean you’re protected from the appearance of sun spots. If there are windows in your office, you run the risk of incurring a few dark spots here and there, so play it safe by lathering up with SPF before putting on your makeup and heading out the door.

However, when you’re enjoying the weather outdoors, you’ll need more than a simple coat of sunscreen to prevent dark spots from appearing. For starters, a tightly knitted wide-brimmed hat will block up to 80 percent of UV rays, so keep one on hand for those impromptu trips to the beach.

Even cloudy days have the potential to leave you freckled and burned, so don’t let an overcast sky trick you into leaving sun protection at home. If you plan to splash around in the ocean or to work up a sweat, choose a waterproof formula to ensure your lotion stays put, and no matter what, reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes to two hours for optimal sun protection.

For those who crave extra assurance, sporting long clothing layers in deep shades will further increase sun protection.

And when it comes to shielding your face from UV rays, don’t forget your eyes. Wear oversize sunglasses outdoors, preferably a pair that blocks 99 percent of UVA and UVB light. In addition, choose a sunscreen specifically formulated for the sensitive under-eye area -- despite its diminutive surface area, the skin around your baby blues isn’t exempt from developing dark spots.

If you remember to take the necessary precautions before heading out into the sun, you can maintain proper skin health while enjoying summer festivities.

Article by Tyler Atwood at