Although age spots typically develop in adults 40 or older, they can occur at any age — including the teenage years. Age spots can be unsightly and difficult to hide, which can be especially traumatic to a teenager. Therefore, it is important to understand what causes age spots to occur and how they can be prevented in the teenage years.
MayoClinic.com notes that age spots in teens can appear as flat, circular spots of dark pigmentation. These spots can range from the size of a freckle to several centimeters in diameter. They can be grayish, black or brown in color. Although they can develop anywhere on the body, they generally occur on areas of skin most exposed to the sun such as the face, upper back, shoulders and the back of the hands.
Age spots occur from excess exposure to ultraviolet rays. The body produces extra melanin in order to protect the deeper layers of skin. This melanin clumps together, forming an age spot. Although they are more common in older people, they can develop in teenagers as well. "The Washington Post" reports that premature signs of aging, such as age spots in the teenage years, can occur as the result of stress and overwhelming emotion. This stress can cause the genes inside cells to deteriorate prematurely.
There are a variety of treatments for age spots in teenagers including skin bleaching creams and lotions. A dermatologist or doctor can also perform procedures such as microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing or a chemical peel to remove the top and underlying layers of skin. These procedures can slough off the skin cells harboring the age spot. In addition, cryotherapy can also be used to freeze off the age spot tissue.
To prevent age spots in the teenage years, it is important to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Ultraviolet rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so wear protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat. In addition, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Wear sunscreen every time you go outside — even if it’s during the winter or overcast outside.
Even though the appearance of age spots can be premature and disturbing for teenagers, insurance companies may not cover treatment options. In addition, some procedures can have side effects such as scaring, skin discoloration, scabbing, redness, burning and peeling of the skin. Some treatments, such as skin bleaching creams, can also increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Consult a dermatologist if concerned about treatment options and side effects.