When you notice brown age spots on your lips, your first thought may include deep concern about your well-being. Fortunately, in most cases, the spots are perfectly harmless to your health -- even if they shake your self-confidence. To improve the uniformity of your lips while recapturing a more youthful pout, begin with a trip to the dermatologist. While you await your appointment, seek out answers to your questions about age spots on your lips.
What Are Age Spots?
Age spots are areas of darkened skin tissue that look brown or gray. They may occur anywhere on your skin, such as your lips. Repeat exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays leads to this physical damage, which can show up as discolored lip tissue. The term "age spots" reflects their tendency to appear most often once you reach 40 years of age, even though they may affect individuals of any age.
Often called liver spots or solar lentigines, age spots on your body, including your lips, are completely harmless. Spots that are extremely dark or raised, however, may point to a serious condition, such as a skin cancer. The sooner you visit your dermatologist, the faster you will know whether lip age spots are harmless. Early detection of melanoma, a type of skin cancer, often yields a much greater treatment success rate.
Protect Your Pucker
The delicate skin on and around your lips is especially vulnerable to sun damage, so apply sunscreen every day. For effective protection, make sure you are using SPF 30 or higher. Slide on some sun-protective lip balm several times a day for easy maintenance. Doing so will not affect existing spots, but it will help you avoid new discoloration. If you choose chemical treatments to improve existing spots, sunscreen will promote successful healing.
Say Goodbye to Spots
Choose over-the-counter brightening or bleaching treatments to lighten the discoloration. This form of treatment may take several weeks or months to see results, and may include the use of retinols or hydroquinone for skin near your lips. You may see mild to complete improvement, depending on the severity of your spots. Or consult a dermatologist about laser treatment. The procedure targets the discoloration with a laser, which destroys the cells that create the darkened spots, as well as the spots themselves. The spots will completely disappear.