Most women hate them. Those odd-looking small brown spots that suddenly appear on your hands, face and chest – not as pretty as freckles nor as distinctive as moles – age spots. Most of us hate them because we associate them with aging but are we right – and more importantly what can we do to get rid of them?

Since your genes give you your skin type they also influence how prone you are to age spots – but by far the biggest factor is how much sun exposure you’ve had. If you’ve inherited sensitive or delicate skin then sun exposure is likely to produce age spots at an earlier age – even as soon as your thirties. What is fairly certain though is that somewhere along the line, you will see the results of sun exposure in your face and body – and it may not be pretty.

So – despite their name and contrary to popular belief, age spots aren’t caused simply by your skin getting older. They are the visible effects of sun damage – if you lived to be 100 years old and had never been exposed to the sun, you wouldn’t have a single age spot.

Most age spots are painless and harmless, so there’s no need to worry about them as a health risk. Of course – just because age spots are unlikely to damage your health, that doesn’t mean you’re happy to live with them.

Blemishes on the skin can cause you to feel less happy about your appearance and undermine your overall self-confidence – and nothing adds more years than lack of confidence about how you look. Age spots are naturally associated with age and you may be self-conscious about them simply because of that.

But the good news is you don’t have to put up with them if you’re unhappy – taking action to deal with something so apparently trivial as age spots can be a huge boost to your self-esteem. Age spots can be treated with increasing success nowadays and you have a range of options to choose from.

To start with, you may want to consider a fade cream which is simply a topical anti aging skin treatment that contains a skin bleaching agent – in the US this is usually hydroquinone. The level of the active ingredient is important – the fade cream will not work effectively if it contains only a small amount of the key active ingredient. The effect of a sufficiently strong fade cream will be to lighten the age spots gradually over time so they become less noticeable.

Other ingredients are used in fade creams outside the US where there is a bit of controversy about the effect of hydroquinone on skin cell health. Other topical creams are based on vitamin A (Retinol),Vitamin K, glycolic acid and licorice extract – again used at high enough doses to help lessen the appearance of the sun spot over time.

What is important in using any type of cream for age spots is that you keep going even if you don’t get an instant result. Fade creams are formulated to work gradually over several weeks – otherwise the level of active ingredients needed would be so high as to be harmful. You need to be aware that unless you apply the cream as indicated by the makers over the period of time prescribed – you’re unlikely to get a good result.