Diary / Beauty / Jul 17, 2023
What Are Age Spots and How to Conceal Them
Written by: Piper Gray
Photography by: Ben Ritter
Liver spots. Sunspots. These are common terms for what we know as age spots, irregularities of pigmentation that occur on the skin as we age—from our faces to the backs of our hands. They tend to appear as flat, dark spots that vary in size.
Let’s explore the characteristics and causes of age spots; we’ll go over some tips on how to conceal them successfully with your favorite Jones Road Beauty products.
What Causes Age Spots?
Age spots are like larger freckles of hyperpigmentation that mainly appear on the areas that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face, shoulders, back, and hands. Over time, the skin accumulates damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays which leads to the formation of age spots, which can increase in number as you continue to age.
As we get older, there are changes in the production and distribution of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloration, which causes the development of age spots. The pigment cells become overactive, and age spots appear when the melanin is highly concentrated in one specific area.
Several skin conditions can resemble age spots in appearance, so it is important to know how to differentiate different conditions and when it is time to visit a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment. Skin cancers, like melanoma, can appear like age spots. However, melanomas typically have irregular borders and change in size, shape, or color over time. If you notice a spot on your skin with these characteristics, see a dermatologist right away.
Actinic keratoses are scaly, rough patches that develop from long-term sun exposure. While these patches can resemble age spots, they do have a more defined texture and take on a reddish-to-brownish color. These spots require medical evaluation, as they are considered precancerous.
More common in those who have fair skin, freckles may be mistaken as age spots but have a more distinct look. Freckles are usually smaller than age spots and more evenly distributed across the skin, not just the areas exposed to the sun.
Another skin condition that can present like age spots, is known as seborrheic keratoses. These non-cancerous, harmless spots are often raised and almost waxy in texture. Like age spots, they do tend to appear with age, but they do not typically change in size, shape, or color over time as melanomas can.
How Can I Prevent Age Spots?
It’s not news that too much sun exposure can be dangerous, but when it comes to preventing age spots, limiting your time in the sun can help. Here is how you can minimize the development of age spots and maintain more even-toned skin over time.
Limiting Sun Exposure
Hands down, one of the most effective ways to prevent age spots is by limiting your sun exposure. The effects of the sun will catch up to you in later years with the appearance of age spots (or wrinkles, or even cancer). It’s also best to avoid the use of tanning beds, as they emit intense UV radiation.
Again, we’re not revealing any new information here but if you enjoy being in the sun, or spend a lot of time outside playing sports, limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours when the sun’s rays are the strongest, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Especially be mindful of reflective surfaces if you are on the beach or at the pool. Sunlight can reflect off surfaces like sand, concrete, water, even snow. You can get nasty sunburns if you are in the snow on a sunny day so remember to apply your sunscreen (at least SPF 30) to protect you from harsh UV rays.
Wearing Protective Clothing
When you do have to be out in the sun, your choice of clothing is also important when it comes to avoiding the sun’s rays. Cover your skin with lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats that provide adequate sun protection. Wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them. Look for sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection.
It is important to always use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. Remember to reapply frequently, especially if you are swimming or sweating. A good rule to follow is to reapply every two hours. And make sure you’re applying enough. If you’re using a spray, take care to evenly coat your body, and if you’re using a lotion or gel, use the amount that can fill a shot glass, about two tablespoons.
Don’t forget to apply it to every part of your body, especially places you may not think about, like the tips of your ears and lips. It’s a good idea to keep a lip balm with you that contains SPF to protect your lips from sun damage, as the thin skin on your lips is susceptible to sunburn.
Treatments for Age Spots
It’s possible to tackle age spots after they’ve appeared, but some treatment options—like laser therapy, lightening, dermabrasion, or cryotherapy—may be harsh or have a not-so-quick recovery time. While it is always worth researching all options, natural skin care and makeup can also easily help conceal any signs of aging that have cropped up.
How Do I Conceal Age Spots?
Choosing the Right Concealer
The right concealer can camouflage age spots effectively and give your skin a natural-looking finish. (By “right” we mean it offers the most suitable amount of coverage for your skin tone and type.) A concealer with high coverage will allow you to use the least amount of product but also is likely to have more staying power; one with less coverage allows more of your natural tone and some of these spots to peek through.
Concealer consistency should be smooth and blend easily without emphasizing fine lines or different textures. Our Face Pencil provides undetectable, precise coverage that is easy to apply—in only the areas you want to conceal—and has maximum staying power.
When selecting your shades, remember to pay attention to your undertones; if you have cool or warm undertones, stick to the respective cool or warm shades. This will ensure that the concealer will blend seamlessly into your skin.
Other Tips for Concealing Age Spots
You may find that when trying to conceal an age spot with your current concealer, you are left with a noticeable spot where you applied your concealer. This may be the case if the age spots are much darker than your current skin tone.
When it comes to concealing any skin tone concerns, one of the key techniques is color correction. When colors sit on opposite ends of the color wheel, they neutralize each other.
Age spots can appear with a purplish tint, and using the peachy tones of The Face Pencil will help counteract the darkness of the age spots. (On the color wheel, purple and orange are on opposite ends of each other.) After you blend a small amount of your color-correcting shade directly onto the age spots, apply another color close to your skin tone over the corrected area to seamlessly achieve full coverage. It’s easy to find your ideal Face Pencil hues with our quick quiz right here.
While the right color correctors and concealers will help conceal any age spots, your foundation will give your skin an overall even tone. Choosing the right foundation will allow all your makeup to work in harmony to give your complexion its best day, every day. Our What the Foundation is a perfect blend of foundation and moisturizer that will blend into your skin to leave a smooth and flawless finish. We also have a quiz to help you find the perfect shades for your skin tone concerns.
Allow the magic behind color correctors and your coverage products to do the heavy lifting to conceal age spots and give your skin an even and clear complexion. Apply your makeup with a light hand, as cakey makeup can bring more attention to the areas you are trying to conceal.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to your skin, being proactive is the best action to take. When you prevent skin conditions from occurring, then you won’t have to treat them as you age. Even if you are starting to experience age spots now, you can change your routine to help prevent any additional spots from appearing in the future.
Take care of your skin by having a consistent topical skincare routine, eating healthy, and exercising. As you incorporate consistency and the right products, you’ll see the results of taking care of your skin. Your makeup will lay better on your skin, too.
Remember to be vigilant when new spots appear on your skin, and raise any concerns with a dermatologist.