What is it?
Solar lentigines, senile or actinic also known as “age spots” are small brown spots of 1-2 mm to centimeters that appear on the skin, well delimited and usually have a rounded or starry shape. They are characterized by an increase in the number of melanocytes. Unlike moles or nevus they maintain a stable color, regardless of the sun exposure received.
They are related to sun exposure for this reason they usually appear in areas such as the face, the neckline, the hands and on the head if there is baldness. These aren’t malignant nor evolve to any malignant cutaneous lesion. But they are indicators that the skin has received a solar overexposure and therefore it is advisable to carry out periodic inspections of the area by a dermatologist to detect in time any possible premalignant or malignant lesions.
Who does it affect?
It’s frequently observed in people from the age of 40, since from this age the skin has less capacity for regeneration and recovery to the sun exposure. Especially, they are more common in people with fair skin who are more likely to burn.
Appearance of flat and pigmented lesions in areas exposed to solar radiation.
We can differentiate between:
- Simple lentigines: it’s a homogeneous brown stain of 1-5 mm that can occur anywhere on the body. Usually appear after of the three years.
- Solar lentigines: consists of a stain of greater dimensions, of brown color and rough and scaly surface.
The main cause of the appearance of lentigines is the recurrent sun exposure of skin not protected, both by sunburn as well as for chronic exposures. For this reason with the passage of the years and with the accumulation of sunlight appear in more quantity. Although they aren’t malignant, they indicate that the skin has received a solar overexposure therefore is a zone more propitious for the skin to suffer premalignant lesions and therefore a periodic monitoring by the dermatologist is advised.
Because they are benign lesions of the skin, they generally do not require treatment. But, very often for aesthetic reasons are removed to minimize the signs of age. Depending on the number, the location and the size of the lesions, one or the other treatment is applied.
- Depigmenting cosmetic creams: unfortunately, they don’t manage to eliminate stains since the pigment of lentigines is deep and therefore requires other techniques.
- Chemical peeling of trichloroacetic acid
- Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen
- Lasertherapy: is the therapeutic option with the best risk/benefit ratio. The light impacts on the pigment and fragments it so that the body’s defenses eliminate it. Typically, two to four sessions of Qd switched Nd: YAG lasers and pulsed light systems are required to achieve complete elimination. This procedure causes the appearance of a superficial crust for about four days. In the case of single lentigines, large or with a certain thickness, it’s more appropriate to use the CO2 laser, since it produces a superficial peeling but reaches a depth necessary to eliminate the stain.
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It’s indispensable for to avoid its appearance the solar protection FPS50 and to avoid the hours of greater solar radiation. We can reduce the risk of occurrence by applying a cream rich in retinol (vitamin A) and vitamin C, with dermatologist prescription.