As you age, you might notice the appearance of dark spots on your skin. Age spots are flat brown, black, or gray spots on the skin that usually occur in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun such as the face and hands. Sometimes age spots are called liver spots or sunspots. These brown spots on the skin are caused by an excess production of melanin, the pigment in your skin. Although age spots aren’t dangerous and usually do not cause any health problems, sometimes they can impact a person’s self-esteem. If you want to lessen the appearance of dark spots on your skin, there are a number of treatments and procedures available.
Sun spots are sometimes called liver spots solely based on their color! The color of sun spots resembles the color of liver and they have no association with any liver issues.
Dark Spot Treatment and Prevention
Age spots are generally benign, but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor to diagnose a dark spot on your skin. Sometimes dark spots on the skin can potentially be skin cancer or an abnormal mole. Once a diagnosis is made, your doctor can recommend a prescription treatment or something more aggressive. Here are a few options for treating age spots.
· Prescription medications. Your doctor might prescribe creams designed to fade age spots over time. These bleaching creams make your skin more suspectable to UV damage, so if you go this route, you will need to wear sunscreen at all times, even on cloudy days.
· Chemical peel. This method is often used as a dark spot remover for the face. Your doctor will apply a chemical solution to your skin that removes the top layers. New, smoother skin will then form in its place. Several treatments are usually needed.
· Cryotherapy, or freezing. This procedure treats age spots on the face and age spots on the hands using liquid nitrogen. Your doctor will use a cryogen to apply the liquid nitrogen for a few seconds on the age spots, which destroys the extra pigment. This treatment is usually used for a single spot or a small cluster of spots. As your skin heals, it will appear lighter in color.
· Laser and intense pulsed light therapies. Some of these types of light therapies destroy cells that produce melanin without damaging the surface of the skin. These usually require a few sessions to be effective. Other types of lasers remove the top layer of skin, stimulating new, smoother skin to grow in its place.
Dark spot treatments are usually done right in the doctor’s office and do not have a lengthy recovery time. Although age spots are generally harmless changes to the skin and do not cause pain, they can cause emotional distress to some people. If you want to remove dark spots on your face or hands, you should consult with your doctor to determine which type of treatment options are best for you.
At Castle Dermatology, we offer all the different modalities of treatments for combating sunspots, including compounded skin lightening creams, IPL treatment, chemical peels, and cryotherapy. We would be happy to evaluate your skin and decide which treatment option would be best.