Age Spots, Brown Spots, Sun Spots
You will be amazed at the difference.
Age spots have many names: sun spots, liver spots, brown spots, or maturity spots. Whatever you call them, they are unsightly skin blemishes and people feel these spots show their age. These spots are harmless patches of increased pigmentation that range from freckle size to a few inches across. They appear as flat spots found on sun-exposed skin particularly the hands, face, shoulders, arms and forehead. The color of these spots range from light brown to black and can appear on nearly all skin types. These skin discolorations are associated with aging and exposure to ultra-violet radiation from the sun.
Causes of age spots and brown spots
You may have exposed unprotected skin to ultraviolet rays, whether from a tanning booth, a sunlamp or years of sun exposure with or without sunscreen. In response, your skin has tried to protect itself by producing an overabundance of melanin–the pigmented cells in your skin–in uneven patches. The release of melanin is part of the body’s immune response. It is nature’s way of protecting the skin from further damage after it has been exposed to an excess of ultra violet rays. Darker discoloration usually indicates damage within the deeper layers of the skin and may be more difficult to treat.
Certain substances that come in contact with your skin may cause brown spots. Chemicals called psoralens are present in foods such as parsley, limes and parsnips. When you handle these foods and then go out in the sun, your skin may be more sensitive and burn more easily where the psoralens touched it. When the little blisters from the burns have healed, brown spots may appear in their places.
Other Causes of Age Spots
Antibiotics such as tetracycline (Achromycin), some diuretics (water pills) and antipsychotic medicines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) will also tend to cause your skin to produce brown spots especially when it is not protected from the sun. Perfumes or lotions containing musk or bergamot oil also have been known to cause spots.
Treatments for Age Spots and Brown Spots
At Greenspring, we use a variety of methods to address age spots depending on an individual skin analysis. Our most common treatment methods are IPL Photofacial, Depigmenting Photofacial, Fractional Lasers, and Chemical Peels.
Chemical peels use a chemical based solution that is applied to the face or hands. The peel contains medications that cause the skin to reduce the protection of melanin which, in turn, reduces the appearance of brown spots.
Many of the smaller spots and skin lesions of the face, neck and hands are easily removed with lasers and/or Photofacial treatments. These include so-called liver spots on the hands, small brown spots or age spots on the face, and freckles and freckle-like spots on the face and elsewhere.
How many treatments will it take to remove or diminish age spots?
Depigmenting peels typically require only one treatment, are painless and require little to no downtime. For lasers, six laser treatments may be required depending on the lesions and the lasers used.
When will I see results of the age spots treatments?
Incremental improvements will be seen within one to two days.
How long will the results last?
These improvements are typically long lasting especially if sun and ultraviolet exposure are minimized. Touch-up treatments may be required yearly.
How can I prevent the spots from coming back?
Minimize ultraviolet exposure with effective sunblocks, sun avoidance, or protective clothing.