Age spots are clumps of melanin. They occur when new skin cells are infused with the pigment melanin at the time they are produced by the skin's stem cells.
The melanocytes deep within the skin produce melanin. Melanin production is stimulated by exposure to UV rays of sunlight and also by toxins in the environment. For example, cigarette smoke looks to stimulate increased melanin production over time.
The spots do not appear right after sun exposure because it takes time for them to make their way to the surface. The skin cell turnover rate is faster when we are young. Old cells are sloughed off of the surface and new ones work their way up in a relatively short period of time.
The slow turnover rate that companies age may be one of the reasons that age spots are slow to fade away. It is not necessarily what causes them. But it plays a role in how long they stick around after the exposure to UV rays or toxins ends.
Why certain melanocytes get over-stimulated to produce clumps is not completely understood. It is believed that free radical damage plays a role.
Free radicals are molecules that are naturally present all over the body. They are byproducts of chemical reactions that occur in your body. They are present in the skin's layers.
Free radicals have a positive charge because they are missing an electron. They cause damage to cells and fibers as they attempt to neutralize the charge.
Antioxidants such as vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 willingly donate an electron to neutralize the charge. When we are young, our antioxidant status is high. As we age, it tends to get lower and lower, especially if we do not eat right or take any supplements.
As the antioxidant status decreases, the number of free radicals increase and the damage they do to cells and fibers becomes greater. Research has shown that there are far fewer antioxidants in older skin than in youngger skin. This, according to researchers, is the main cause of the visible signs of aging, including age spots.
So, the cause of age spots is really a combination factors. Exposure to sunlight or toxins stimulates the melanocytes. Some of the melanocytes are overstimulated, probably because they have been damaged by free radicals. The spots appear and are slow to fade away because of a slow-down in the skin cell turnover rate that companies age.
So, what's the solution?
1. The first step is to protect the area from sunlight and toxins that may have caused the spot to appear.
2. The second step is to focus on increasing your antioxidant status by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. You may also benefit from a good antioxidant-rich multi-nutritional supplement.
3. The third step, and probably the most important, is to use good skincare products that can restore your skin's health and beauty. Be aware that most of the age spot creams on the market contain hazardous chemicals.
In my next article, you will learn about safe and natural ingredients that work to block melanin production, stimulate the skin-cell turnover rate and reverse free radical damage.
You can learn more about the solutions for getting rid of age spots by clicking the HOW TO FADE AGE SPOTS in the resource box below.