For decades, the professional skin care industry has lamented (if not cursed) the spots that develop on the face due to aging. However, what if those spots were actually beneficial to skin health? Would this change the professional approach to treating them? It is likely that the current strategies used to treat hyperpigmentation may result in more spots over time. There are common misconceptions about the role of age spots, liver spots, and melasma, but there are also new innovative ways to correct these issues without compromising the health of skin.
Research suggests that most age spots result from deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damaged melanocytes. There are hundreds of these cells in the facial skin, and they are constantly being bombarded by the sun. In reality, just about every melanocyte has accumulated minor DNA damage since they are on the front lines of ultraviolet ray exposure, yet most of these cells do not overreact. This occurs because of what lies beneath those melanocytes. Melanocytes replace themselves when they become too damaged to function properly. The epidermis receives the brunt of damages caused by ultraviolet rays, which is one reason why it sheds damaged skin every month. However, the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) does not. It is the repeated damage to the dermal-epidermal junction that appears to be a trigger for age spots. Essentially, years of repeated sun exposure leads to a wound that is not able to heal on the dermal-epidermal junction. The wounded dermal-epidermal junction sends a message to nearby melanocytes to protect skin from more sun damage. As a result of compromised skin, the melanocyte creates the equivalent of a melanin umbrella (age spots) that serves as extra protection to the damaged zone. This is not different than the tanning response which creates melanin to protect a larger, damaged zone caused by the sun. This theory fits with the knowledge surrounding the protective behavior of these amazing cells. Skin always does what is best, even though it may not always seem like it. In this case, age spots are an appropriate response to prevent further damage.
Want to read more?
Subscribe to continue reading this article, plus gain access to all DERMASCOPE has to offer.
Ben Johnson, MD is a physician, inventor, and entrepreneur who has spent the last 25 years dedicated to solving some of the world’s most challenging skin and health conditions. He holds multiple patents related to skin care and wellness as a result of his unparalleled research and philosophies pertaining to the skin-body connection. Dr. Johnson founded Osmosis Beauty with a revolutionary approach that is changing the direction of skin care, away from excessive exfoliation and renewing the focus of dermal remodeling, barrier and DNA repair, and detoxification. He has found that the skin and body are capable of healing themselves with the proper tools and the removal of toxic influences.