Age Spots: How to deal

ancient booer

Boo! Boo! Rubbish! Filth! Slime! Muck! Boo! Boo! Boo!

Two years ago I noticed a small brown discoloration on the side of my face. It was barely noticeable at the time but I totally freaked out. It was the dreaded age spot (i.e. “liver spot”, “solar lentigo”,  or the more euphemistic “dark spot”)!

It was official. I was well on my way to becoming a hag of the mist or the ancient booer.

Since fear often begets irrational & rash actions (at least for me), I purchased an assemblage of lightening-brightening treatments and age spot eradicators from high-end, reputable brands.

The result? A more noticeable dark spot. Why? Most of these products contain Hydroquinone a bleaching agent. If you err outside the age spot boundaries, the surrounding skin will lighten as well (increasing the contrast). I tried using a Q-tip instead of my fat fingers, but the product would seep out of the demarcated area if any perspiration, rubbing, or application of other products occurred.

And I think it’s important to note that a few years ago the FDA proposed a ban on using the ingredient in over-the-counter products since it may act as carcinogen. Nasty. And as someone who dislikes absolutes, I’m not claiming that these products will cause cancer–I still wear deodorant with aluminum-based compounds because I refuse to smell like a hippie. But it’s better to eliminate as much “potentially” harmful ingredients from your skincare regimen and diet as possible.

There are some more supposedly effective treatments out there but they involve lasers, peels, [fill in the blank ]-abrasion, and chemicals.

For those of us who’d like to leave lasers with jedis, trekmasters, and cylons (yes, I heart sci fi) check out this article on some natural ways to treat those little dirtbags.

My primary message here is that sometimes the best treatment is to accept what you cannot change. I have had a seatbelt scar right in the middle of my right thigh–yes from the metal part of a seatbelt–ever since I was an infant. As much as I hated it over so many years, I’ve accepted that it’s simply a part of me and I kind of like it.

And though age spots are vilified these days to a great degree, they’re kind of like wrinkles to me: reminders that I’m lucky I’m aging. That I’ve lived (and am continuing to live) a long, full life and I have some visible proof.

In sum, I pledge take care of my skin and body the best I can, but also to accept the minor things I cannot change…warts age spots and all.