Everyone knows it. Age spots on our skin make us appear many years older than our true age. Today there are many treatments available to reduce or remove these age spots, helping us look years younger.
Age spots are flat, light or dark brown marks that develop on the skin as we age. They appear mainly on areas exposed to the sun, including the face, hands, shoulders and arms. Age spots, more correctly called lentigines, are caused by skin-damaging overexposure to the sun.
Typically affecting people over the age of 40, younger people who spend a great deal of time in the sun may see age spots as well. While true age spots are harmless, they may resemble cancerous growths. For that reason, if you start to see age spots on your skin, ask your dermatologist to look at them to make sure they are not cancerous. Melanoma is the most dangerous of all skin cancer types, resulting in over 80,000 cases per year.
The good news is that most brown spots are not harmful and can be removed or easily treated to improve the skin’s appearance and make you look younger. Once your doctor has ruled out skin cancer, there are several different home remedies and in-office treatments that can help reduce or remove the age spots.
A first step in attempting to lighten age spots safely is with skin-bleaching lotions and creams that can be purchased over the counter. Successful treatment, however, needs to penetrate the topmost layer of skin where the extra pigment is located, so the products must be used regularly over several weeks or months before noticeable results occur. When choosing a nonprescription fade cream, choose one that contains hydroquinone, deoxyarbutin, glycolic acid or kojic acid.
And if over-the-counter treatment doesn’t do the trick, the following are the top in-office treatments for age spots that your dermatologist can offer for your unique situation:
- Prescription creams. Bleaching creams containing hydroquinone, used alone or with retinoids and a mild steroid, when used regularly, may partially fade age spots over time.
- Q-Switched Lasers. Laser treatments performed in your dermatologist’s office can remove sun spots, brown spots and liver spots. These treatments work by being very specific for brown color and selectively removing the lesions.
- Microdermabrasion. In this procedure, the skin is sanded with a special instrument to lessen the age spot. This procedure helps to strengthen and rejuvenate aging skin, and may even help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
- Cryosurgery. This procedure uses liquid nitrogen to freeze skin tissue and remove age spots.
- Chemical Peel. Chemical peels are a powerful treatment that not only help reduce and remove age spots, but can also strengthen the skin to boost collagen production. A chemical peel involves applying an acid, which burns the outer layer of your skin. As the skin peels, new skin forms to take its place.
- Laser Skin Rejuvenation – Fraxel and Pixel. A popular cosmetic treatment, Fraxel is a powerful resurfacing laser treatment that smoothes and rejuvenates the skin, removes age spots and reduces the appearance of fine lines. Pixel is a more powerful resurfacing laser, which also treats some of the deeper lines.
Preventing Age Spots
Prevention, or reducing exposure to the sun, is the best way to reduce the likelihood of getting age spots. Wear sunscreen all the time on all areas of exposed skin, no matter what the weather or season. If you must be in the sun, even in winter, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (which blocks both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of at least 15. While aging does cause a host of changes to our bodies, our skin doesn’t have to make us look or feel old. A consultation with your dermatologist can help you identify the right treatment for you that will reduce or even remove age spots and leave you feeling and looking younger.
Age Spots Aging Your Appearance? Contact Us Today!
Your skin doesn’t have to give away your true age! If you have age spots or other signs of aging on your skin, contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss treatment options. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists are trained in the latest lasers, including Fraxel, to treat age spots and other signs of aging in a minimally-invasive manner. Our ten conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens (Bayside, Flushing), Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn/Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Westchester County (Ossining), Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.