Since the greatest instance of age spots are a direct result of sun damage, preventing age spots is as simple as protecting your skin from the sun. Retiring the sun goddess is not merely a vain gesture to preserve youthful skin; protecting skin from sun damage can decrease your chances of skin cancer by 90%.
Healthcare professionals have been shouting the mantra from the rooftop for years, “wear sunscreen!” Age spot prevention begins with skin protection. The American Academy of Dermatologists suggests wearing a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 that protects against UVA and UVB rays year round. You should reapply sunscreen every two hours.
I’m Too Sexy for My Shirt
Covering sun-exposed skin is another line of defense to prevent age spots, but keep in mind that all fabrics are not created equal. Light summer clothes with loose weaves are admittedly better than baring it, but for true protection look for clothing with a tight weave such as denim. The test? If you can see through it, the sun can get through it.
Top It Off
The greatest incidence of skin cancer occurs on the head and face, which is the basis for the argument that hats are not only fashionable; the right one can decrease your chances of skin damage. When looking for a hat for sun protection, choose one with a wide brim that will offer the most sun coverage. The brim should be a minimum of three inches and should encircle the entire hat. A baseball cap, which has only a frontal brim, offers no coverage for the ears and neck.
The material you choose will affect sun protection as well. Look for a hat with tight weave. A straw hat with holes will offer much less protection than a denim hat.
Wear a hat to protect your scalp and face. What can a hat do to protect?
Sunglasses Aren’t a Fashion Statement
Though a definite perk, sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement. Eyes exposed to sunlight are as much at risk of serious damage as your skin and need to be protected. For the ultimate protection sunglasses should contain the following:
The ability to absorb and block 99-100% of the UVA and UVB light.
Complete coverage for the eyes and surrounding skin
Polarized lenses to eliminate glare
Avoid the Sun during Peak Hours
Avoiding sun exposure during peak hours should be your primary defense against sun damage. The time of year, elevation of sun in the sky, and cloud cover all affect the amount of ultraviolet that reaches the Earth’s surface, so it’s best to recognize that the greatest exposure will generally fall between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.
“Ultraviolet Index: What You Need to Know.” (n.d.). American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved October 9, 2009, from www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/sun_ultraviolet.html
“General dermatologic surgery information.” (n.d.). American Society for Dermatological Surgery. Retrieved October 9, 2009, from www.asds.net/GeneralDermasurgeryInformation.aspx
“Four Types of Melanoma.” (n.d.). Skin Cancer Net. Retrieved October 9, 2009, from www.skincarephysicians.com/skincancernet/four_types.html
The best way to prevent age spots from sun damage is sun avoidance and protection. . . Since so much time is spent in cars, . . .protective film should be installed in car windows. This film protects against UVB rays, the rays causing skin and age damage.
The best way to treat age spots is to prevent them. Eating foods rich in antioxidants and taking nutritional supplements can help protect your skin. Among the antioxidants, carotenes—natural compounds found in red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables are especially beneficial for preventing age spots.
Marc A Goldstein MD, et al. “Your Best Medicine: From Conventional and Complementary Medicine–Expert-Endorsed Therapeutic Solutions to Relieve Symptoms and Speed Healing” Rodale 2008