There was a time when we all felt invincible. Like nothing could do us damage, especially not the sun! We basked in it and we watched our skin glow beautifully from the sunshine. Unfortunately, this careless summertime fun has most likely done a serious number on our skin. We may even be able to see the evidence now. Age spots (brown spots, liver spots, or sun spots) are a tell tale sign that we didn’t always protect our skin from the sun. If you’re starting to notice age spots, do not fear. There are some options for reducing their appearance and returning your face to that youthful (and responsible) look.
The most effective and rapid treatment for these pigmentation changes is laser therapy. The procedure is relatively painless and the recovery time is short. Maybe it’s time to consider laser skin treatment to address your emerging sun spots. Let’s learn more.
What are Age Spots?
Age spots, sometimes called sun spots or liver spots, are small, flat, dark areas on your skin. Most often they appear in areas that have been exposed to the sun - face, neck, shoulders, forearms. These spots are very common in people over 50 years of age, but younger people can get them too. They are the body’s attempt to protect the skin from further sun damage, which is pretty interesting! Sometimes age spots can be confused with freckles, but the difference is that freckles fade when not exposed to the sun; age spots do not. Age spots are typically very small, circular or oval shaped and can group together and appear bigger. Medically speaking, they are harmless. If you notice any spots turning black or increasing in size, you need to see your doctor as this could be a sign of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer.
How Does Laser Skin Treatment Correct Age Spots?
It’s really quite remarkable how we use lasers to treat various issues. The light pulses are so precise that we can target a very specific area and send the body into a healing phase. With melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) as the target, intense pulsed light can break up and destroy these darker pigments. Most people report that this feels like a rubber band snap and we have topical numbing cream available to reduce that sensation. Amazingly, the skin’s surface remains unscathed and voila! The new underlayer of skin looks more youthful and the appearance of discoloration is greatly reduced.
How to Prepare for Laser Skin Treatment - Before & After
In preparation for your laser therapy, Dr. Raval recommends using a retinol or retinol a treatment for about 4 weeks. Depending on the severity of your age spots, you may need to undergo a few treatments over the course of a few months to achieve your desired results.
It is possible that the treated skin will feel irritated and itchy following the procedure, much like a sunburn. Some redness and swelling is likely. You will want to keep the treatment area clean to avoid infection. You can also apply an ointment to prevent scabs from forming. Complete healing may take up to three weeks. During this time, you’ll want to use oil-free makeup and lotions, avoid sun exposure, and keep your skin well moisturized. The good news is that there is not much disruption to your daily routine - you can return to work the same day.
Laser Skin Treatment Risks
The risks associated with laser skin therapy are very minimal, but can include:
- Mild pain
- Itching sensation
Keeping the treated area clean and moisturized can reduce the likelihood of experiencing these side effects. You may also take an anti-inflammatory like Advil to reduce swelling.
Laser Skin Treatment for Age Spots - Results
Laser skin treatment is a great option for those seeking to reduce the appearance of age spots, though it may take 3-5 treatments to reach your desired results. Age and sun spots will inevitably return, so plan on maintenance treatments every 6-12 months. These treatments can help you achieve a more even skin tone and a more vibrant look. Check out our Skin Treatments Before & After gallery to see photos of Dr. Raval’s actual clients. The best way to see prolonged results after your treatments is to protect your skin from the sun. Wear sunscreen every day and try to shade your face with a wide brimmed hat. And even though the sun feels great shining on your face, try to choose shade!
Always remember that, no matter what your specific skin issue is, the best way to learn about what kind of results you may see, is to schedule your in-office consultation.
If you are interested in learning more about how laser skin treatment may address your age spots, please contact us!