If you love the sun or have spent a great deal of time outdoors in the past, you are prone to develop sunspots. Also called age spots and liver spots, sunspots are caused by exposure to UV light. When the skin is exposed to such light, the skin produces more melanin, or skin pigment, in an effort to protect the skin from the sun's damaging rays. This phenomenon usually results in a tan that fades over time, but it can also cause spots of color to form on the skin -- spots that won't fade. These are sunspots. Following are four in-office treatments that really get rid of sunspots.
This treatment involves applying a chemical solution to the skin that removes the surface cells or top layers of skin. There are three strengths of chemical peels: superficial, medium, and deep. Superficial peels can remove minor discoloration. For obvious sunspots, medium and deep peels are recommended. As expected, deep peels effect the most change, but they also have a greater recovery time.
Dermabrasion is a deep exfoliating technique that removes the top layers of skin. During the procedure, dermatologists use a rotating instrument called a dermabrader to remove layers of skin. If a large area needs to be treated, dermabrasion is usually spread out over the course of several sessions. This procedure can also be used to remove scars, tattoos, and precancerous growths.
Although it is not ideal for treating large patches of skin, cryotherapy is often used to treat localized spots and small areas. This therapy involves applying liquid nitrogen to the skin in an effort to freeze and destroy the extra pigment found in sunspots. As the treated areas heal, the body absorbs the pulverized pigment, resulting in lighter skin.
Laser treatments focus an intense ray of laser light right on problem areas of the skin, such as a sunspots, to destroy excessive pigment or hyper-pigmentation. The laser utilizes a single color on the light spectrum, such as a blue light or red light. Usually, multiple treatments, up to five or six, are necessary to remove sunspots.
In addition to in-office therapies, there are numerous over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments that can lighten sunspots. To see which treatments are right for you and your skin, talk to a dermatologist like Waccamaw Dermatology & Plastic Surgery LLC. Your dermatologist might even suggest a combination of therapies in order to achieve the best results.