You’ve seen them. You may have them. They look like freckles and are called many different names; sun spots, liver spots, and solar lentigines (len-tij–uh-neez). But let’s call them what they really are…age spots!
They’re typically seen in areas that get the most sun exposure and can show up on younger skin…but sunspots are most commonly found on older folks and most often seen on adults 50 and older.
Sunspots most often appear on the hands and face, but can sometimes show up on the arms, shoulders, back, even the top of your feet…depending on how much time each body part is exposed to the sun over time.
The bad news is, they can be rather unsightly and there’s not a whole lot you can do to prevent them, other than maybe spending a lifetime avoiding any sun exposure. And no one wants to do that, right?
The Good News
There are a couple of pieces of good news about sun/age/liver spots. First of all, they’re harmless. They don’t impact you in any health-related way. As long as they don’t show any significant changes, like becoming darker, raised, larger, or itchy and tender, they don’t even require any medical attention at all.
The second bit of good news is, there are solutions available to diminish or in some cases, even totally eliminate the appearance of sunspots.
Dermabrasion for Sun Spots
Dermabrasion is a minimally invasive procedure often used to eliminate the appearance of sun spots by removing the outer layer of skin with a specially developed brush. It essentially performs fine sanding of the skin’s top layer, allowing the healthier skin beneath to be seen.
Dermabrasion treatments have minimal recovery time and are typically done in the doctor’s office or clinic. You should have new skin growth within about a week or so and you’ll need to avoid the sun while you’re recovering.
Chemical Peels for Sun Spots
Chemical peels are another alternative treatment for sunspots and work exceptionally well for getting rid of sunspots on the hands, face, and neck. They’re also performed in the physician’s office or clinic and are best suited for light-haired, fair-skinned individuals.
Your skin will be thoroughly cleaned before applying a chemical solution to the area to be treated. It actually creates a wounding effect on your skin, which triggers the body to create new skin tissue.
Following the procedure, you may feel like you’ve been sunburned and will have bandages covering the treated area for a few days. You’ll also experience blisters that will form, but they’ll get crusty, turn brown and will eventually peel off on their own within a week or two.
After a chemical peel, you’ll need to avoid sun exposure for several months. Your doctor will be able to give you a specific time frame suitable for your unique situation.
Ablative C02 Laser for Sun Spots
Ablative CO2 laser treatment is one method of laser skin resurfacing. It’s a very effective treatment for wrinkles, fine lines, and sun spots. It also works to tighten skin tone.
Ablative CO2 laser procedures remove layers of skin tissue…and the recovery process can take two to three weeks, depending on the depth of layers removed.
Many laser treatments are performed in the fall since your skin will be sensitive to the sun for up to 12 months following the procedure. The fall and winter seasons make avoiding sun exposure easier, with shorter daytime hours and more time spent indoors.
If you’re undecided about which procedure is right for you to get rid of unsightly sun spots, contact us to set up a complimentary consultation, and get all your questions answered!