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What are brown sunspots?

Sunspots or age spots, known as lentigo in medical jargon (or "cemetery flowers" in less than cheery French jargon) are caused by too much sun exposure. They are the result of melanin being deposited in the epidermis or dermis. This is a common form of hyperpigmentation that appears as small, flat, darkened areas that are light brown to black in colour. Sunspots can be found on the face, neck, shoulders, neckline, forearms and back of the hands. 

What are the causes?

Sunspots are caused by an imbalance in melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing melanin, the natural pigment that colours the skin. In the case of sunspots, the skin will produce too much melanin following exposure to UV rays, and thus "spot".

Brown spots are not the only sign of skin ageing caused by the sun. Skin ageing acts on two levels: On the epidermis: UVB rays cause the appearance of small sunspots. In the dermis: UVA rays cause the formation of deep wrinkles.

Who is affected by sun spots?

Everyone, men and women alike. Brown spots are more common in people over 40 (hence the name), but they can occur earlier. However, the presence of spots will depend on the skin colour and time spent in the sun: the lighter the skin, the more vulnerable it is to the effects of the sun. In order not to age (at least when it comes to your skin), it isn’t enough to apply an anti-wrinkle cream in the evening. When it comes to the sun, prevention is better than cure! Dermatologists often talk about the concept of sun safety, i.e. protecting yourself from the sun and not exposing your skin too much. Sun protection is therefore the most important step in preventing the formation of age spots. 


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The benefits and damage the sun does to the skin

How to avoid sunspots on the face and neck

Choose good sun protection

Protect yourself all year round

Preventing the effects of the sun on skin ageing requires photoprotection, i.e. a constant attitude of caution towards sun exposure: don’t go out in the sun at peak times of the day, wear clothing, a hat and (approved) sunglasses, and use sun care products with a high SPF suited to your skin type. 

The sun's rays act on the skin, even on cloudy days, so it's important to give your skin the daily protection it needs to stay safe all year round. Even in the city, use a moisturiser with a light SPF to filter out UV rays: the only way to enjoy lunch al fresco!


Don't overdo it

Limit your time in the sun, stay out of the sun during the hottest hours, and wear clothing and a hat to protect yourself from the sun whenever possible. When skin is exposed to the sun, apply and reapply a sun cream product regularly with an appropriate SPF level that has been specially formulated for your skin type and condition.

For more than 30 years, Eau Thermale Avène has been committed to offering the best of its Sun Care products to protect your sensitive skin.*

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