How to prevent sunspots on skin
People who look youthful have fewer sunspots and wrinkles compared to those who look older than their actual age. In this segment, I would like to talk about how we can prevent sunspots and wrinkles, and how we can also help correct the imperfections that have already formed.
There are two main causes when it comes to sunspots and wrinkles. One is ultraviolet rays, and the other is dry skin. There are many other causes, such as stress and impurities left on the skin that clog the pores. However, the number one cause of sunspots are ultraviolet rays. When you stand in the sun, your skin over-produces melanin pigments to protect the dermis (the deeper layers of skin) from the sun’s harsh rays.
Healthy functioning skin cells push melanin pigments to the skin’s surface along with the epidermis skin cells (surface skin cells). When you get sun burnt, your skin’s metabolism ceases to function properly, and melanin pigments are left behind and absorbed into the deeper layers of skin; eventually turning into freckles. Ultraviolet rays also destroy the collagen in your skin. In order to keep your skin free of sunspots, it is crucial to block out as many ultraviolet rays as possible. For instance, when going outside, always wear a hat or use a parasol. If you’re staying out in the sun for a longer period of time, I would highly recommend putting on sunscreen as well. A highly moisturizing sunscreen would be the ideal choice.
I recommend a highly moisturizing sunscreen as the best choice because another leading cause of sunspots is dryness. If you are always using air conditioning inside your home, your skin is prone to becoming very dry. When skin becomes dry, the stratum corneum does not function properly; preventing the skin from retaining moisture and properly protecting itself from ultraviolet rays, thus resulting in sunspots. Dry skin is also lacking in collagen. Collagen is one of the most important elements for retaining elasticity. Skin without moisture or collagen would severely lack elasticity, becoming prone to wrinkles.
In order to revive dry skin, correcting the way you cleanse and moisturize your face is key. Even if it’s during the day but you feel your skin getting dry, take a tiny bit of lotion and lightly pat it on the areas that get dry easily, such as skin around your eyes. It’s fine to just dap a little over the makeup you are already wearing.
As for the correct way to cleanse your face, first rinse your face lightly with lukewarm water. Then take your soap and create as much foam as you can. Wash your face gently and thoroughly with the foamy soap. If you scrub too hard, the cornified layer of your skin will become damaged. Wash your face as though you were rolling a soapy ball of foam all over your face gently with the palms of your hands. When you wash around your mouth, use your tongue to make your skin taut. When washing around your nose, make sure to repeatedly scrub in small circles, for this is a spot that attracts a lot of grime. When you rinse, rinse thoroughly by gently throwing water on your face and avoid scrubbing. 8 times might feel like everything has washed away, but please try to rinse each side of your face at least 15 times. Soap residue on skin will also cause damage to the skin. When drying yourself off with a towel, don’t scrub your skin but rather gently pat your skin with the towel. It’s a good idea to make a habit of these correct cleansing rituals.
Immediate moisturizing after cleansing is essential. Use plenty of lotion, and seal the moisture into the skin by immediately following it with a cream to prevent the lotion from evaporating. Correct cleansing prevents impurities from staying on the skin and clogging the pores; another leading cause of sunspots and wrinkles.
If you wear makeup daily, always use a makeup remover first. Follow with washing your face with a cleanser to get rid of the residual grime. We call this “double cleansing”.
-What to do after sunspots and wrinkles have already appeared-
The best way to help fade sunspots that have already formed is to use homemade facial masks. Here is one of my favorite recipes:
<Homemade Kabocha Pumpkin Facial Mask>
- Chop up a raw kabocha pumpkin into chunks. Approximately 8 pieces. (12 pieces if it’s a larger pumpkin.) Wash well and remove seeds.
- Keeping the skin on; grate into mush.
- Mix pumpkin with an equal amount of yogurt.
- Add flour to the mixture and blend, until it has the consistency of an earlobe.
- Spread the paste on a freshly cleansed face, and wait 10 minutes.
- Rinse face well.
This facial mask works very well with sunburnt skin, or skin that has already developed freckles. Kabocha pumpkins are full of vitamin A, B, C, and enzymes that prevent oxidation. When making this mask, only make as much as you’re going to use, and use it all up in one session. If you use leftovers, it may become contaminated with bacteria and have an opposite effect on your skin, causing it to break out.
Another favorite of mine is green tea. Green tea contains the properties that prevent melanin from forming. After enjoying a cup of green tea, place the used tea bag into a sink full of warm water and repeatedly splash and pat your face with the water. Focus your patting on the areas with damage.
Green tea has a toning effect on the skin. The catechin in green tea has antibacterial properties that help get rid of impurities. It is also very high in antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which have a huge role in preventing melanin from forming. Green tea also contains vitamin B1, flavonol, fluorine; all great for the maintenance of healthy skin.
-How your skin works-
In order to protect your skin, you must learn about the way it functions. Your skin is made of three layers: the epidermis (surface layer), the dermis (middle layer), and the subcutaneous tissue (deepest layer). The epidermis is only approximately 0.1 to 0.2 millimeters, but that layer itself is split up into another four layers. The stratum corneum (surface layer), the granular layer (second layer), the stratum spinosum (third layer), and the basal layer (deepest layer). Every day, new skin skin cells are produced at the deepest basal layer, slowly mutating as they are pushed towards the surface. They become the stratum cornum layer, eventually falling off your body as dead skin cells. This is the skin’s metabolism, and healthy skin has a regular cycle of 28 days. There are a lot of pigment cells within the epidermis, and the melanin that is produced within these cells are the cause of sunspots.
The dermis is underneath the epidermis and is approximately 2 to 3 millimeters in thickness. The dermis contains lots of capillary veins, collagen fibers (collagen fibril), and elastic fibers (elastin). In between them are “substrates”, one of which is known to be hyaluronic acid; a very important element that keeps moisture trapped inside your skin. Collagen fibers keep your skin taut and elastic. When these collagen fibers are damaged, the skin sags and wrinkles. The cells themselves are created at the deepest subcutaneous layer, so good blood circulation is essential in order to deliver the proper nutrition to the subcutaneous layer for it to create healthy cells.
The deepest layer of subcutaneous tissue is also called subcutaneous adipose tissue, and it stores a lot of fat. This stored fat is for saved energy when you need it, and adjusting your body heat. The capillary veins in this layer of your skin effect the tone/ brightness of your overall skin.
-A peeling facial mask-
A healthy epidermis layer transforms into dead skin cells in one full cycle, then sheds off your body. However, as you get older, the rhythm of the cycle breaks and the old skin cells pile up without shedding. These cells are the root cause of dull skin, breakouts, sunspots, and wrinkles. Peeling facial masks are a great solution to this problem. Peeling means getting rid of piled up old skin cells, and helping the skin get back to its correct rhythm so it can produce fresh, beautiful skin.
It is very important to use the correct facial masks and master the correct way of cleansing your face, as I mentioned in my last segment. Maintaining a healthy skin cell cycle is the key to maintaining healthy skin for life.
Wrinkles around your eyes are created from dry skin, and repeated facial movements such as laughing and frowning. Compared to the deepest subcutaneous tissue, the surface layer epidermis recovers much more quickly. Quick treatment and regular maintenance is the key to beautiful skin.
The wrinkles and sagging that happens at the deepest subcutaneous tissue level is largely due to dry skin. To prevent this, use plenty of lotion and and lock in the moisture by topping it off with a cream. Since pores point downwards, it is most effective to pat your skin upwards when applying lotion. However, pat gently to avoid damaging the thin epidermis surface layer of your skin.
Dryness is the ultimate enemy of the skin. One of the major reasons for breakouts is dryness. Isn’t that interesting? You won’t breakout if you moisturize appropriately. When you were younger, I assume that you washed you face very thoroughly when you got a zit. That will only further dry out your skin, making your zit worse. You should never over-wash your face. Once in the morning and once in the evening is more than enough.
Especially during the summer and winter months, try to avoid getting dry skin from air conditioning, a poor diet lacking in nutrients, and harsh ultraviolet rays.
-A gallon of water a day-
Your diet plays an enormous part in your skin’s health. Especially water. The human body is made up of approximately 60 percent water. Our cells, bones, blood, and muscles are comprised mostly of water. When you drink water, it helps regulate so many functions going on within your body. Plain water is much more easily absorbed into your body, more so than flavored water like coffee and tea. It is ideal to drink a gallon of water a day. One gallon seems like a lot at first, but if you drink a cup when you wake up, a cup when you eat… a gallon goes quickly. Tap water contains high levels of chlorine, so using a filter would be wise. Well water and natural water are most ideal.
Drinking water is very important. If you drink good quality water, your organs become healthier, resulting in the production of healthier skin. It’s as if you are reviving your skin to its original state. After I started drinking a gallon of water a day, my skin looks more youthful and my body feels much lighter.
Water helps flush out toxins from your body. There are many people who dislike drinking large amounts of water because it makes them want to go to the bathroom more frequently. Just think of it as your bladder and kidneys being thoroughly washed to clean out all the toxins.
However, drinking cold water can significantly lower your body temperature so drinking water at room temperature is recommended.
When eating, it’s important to consider the balance of nutrition in your diet. Protein and collagen are essential for maintaining a healthy subcutaneous tissue, which is responsible for creating new cells.
-A great way to get your ideal intake of collagen-
In a pot of water, add chicken wing tips and lots of vegetables. Simmer over a long period of time to create a soup, and flavor with some salt. Sipping this soup is a great way to get the collagen that your body needs.
Collagen melts when you add heat to it. When you take time simmering this soup, lots of collagen will melt out of the chicken. After drinking this soup, be sure to follow it by eating fruit to get the proper amount of vitamin C.
In order for collagen to function properly and create beautiful skin, it needs the help of vitamin C. Without vitamin C, collagen cannot do its job. It is very important to eat as many vegetables and fruits when consuming foods high in collagen.
I hope the above guide will help eliminate your sunspots and keep your skin young and healthy!
Yuko, also referred to as the anti-aging wizard, has been researching beauty and health for over 20 years and is the owner of the exclusive beauty salon "Natural Sage" in Tokyo, where her clientele includes royal families and A-list celebrities. She is also the founder of NNNY Skin Care, a premium skin care line initially created exclusively for her salon clientele.