If you've noticed more spot on your face lately, it could be a result of too much sun over the summer. Even though they're called age spots, dermatologists are seeing them on patients in their 20s and 30s. But it is possible to turn back the clock a little bit and give yourself a face fix.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, more than vacation memories remain when the tan fades.
"By the end of the sixth day of vacation, I started getting an actual brown spot, and I was like, 'What is this? It's never been there before,'" said Christina Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, 30, spent her summer holiday at the beach. She couldn't believe how bad her skin looked after such a short time in the sun, but her doctor isn't surprised.
"It doesn't take a lot before you do actually harm your skin irreversibly," said Dr. Nadia Chaudhry, dermatologist.
Chaudhry says even in as little as five days skin develops brown spots and wrinkles, but there's a more important danger.
"Every single time you burn, you double your risk of skin cancer," said Chaudhry.
The doctor says African Americans and those with darker skin think they're protected, but they're not.
"They're still getting UVA, which is 95% of our sun exposure that we get. So those people still get cancer and wrinkles and photo damage," said Chaudhry.
Gonzalez decided on photo dynamic therapy, a laser treatment, which she combined with a topical medication. It was expensive, almost $4,000, and did involve some down time, but Gonzalez says the results were worth it.
"It's perfect," she said.
Chemical peels can also help. So can prescription products.
Chaudhry recommends Retin A and skin bleachers or try inexpensive over the counter products that contain a retinol or an anti-oxidant like vitamin C.
"It gives you a double level of protection against free radicals, which are little pacmen that are eating up your skin," said Chaudhry.
If you notice something new on your skin and you're not sure what it is, see your dermatologist to be sure it's not something more serious, like skin cancer.
Whether you call them freckles or age spots, the number one defense is sunscreen, which the Skin Cancer Foundation now recommends should be used year round.