The feeling of the sun on your skin is one of life’s little pleasures, and like so many things it’s best enjoyed in moderation. Overexposure is, however, a common occurrence. As a result, as you get older, you might develop age spots on the parts of your skin that get the most sun, such as your hands and forearms, face, and shoulders.
Age spots themselves aren’t a health threat, but they indicate that you’ve received the kind of sun exposure that could lead to skin cancer. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your spots, since they can sometimes resemble skin cancer growths. Treating age spots cosmetically improves your skin’s even coloring and can make your cancer self-exams easier.
Laser skin treatments for hyperpigmentation are fast, easy, and they won’t break your routine with recovery time. Contact our expert providers at Wandisan-Rosete Medical Group to learn more about how cosmetic lasers can help make your age spots a thing of the past.
Clumps of melanin
The ultraviolet (UV) components of sunlight causes the production of the natural skin pigment, melanin, to speed up. Over time, clumps of this pigment gather to form the discolorations called age spots, liver spots, sunspots, or solar lentigines. These clumps are flat and typically oval, and they usually range from tan to darker shades of brown in color. Size ranges from small spots about the size of freckles to about one-half of an inch in diameter.
While age spots occur on any skin tone, those with light complexions tend to suffer more. Freckles, particularly in younger children, tend to fade seasonally. Age spots, regardless of how much they resemble freckles, won’t fade once they’ve formed.
Treating age spots with lasers
Fading age spots requires a way to break up the melanin pigment clumps forming the discoloration. Since these clumps reside below your skin’s surface, any treatment needs to go through the outer layers to reach the destination point. Traditional treatments such as chemical peels and dermabrasion do this, but recovery of your epidermis could take weeks.
Cosmetic light therapy uses lasers that largely pass through your outer skin without effect before hitting the pigment clumps below the surface. As the spots absorb laser energy, they warm up and break apart. Your body recognizes the damage to the tissue around the spots and starts a healing response to flush out and replace old tissue.
New dermal tissue has no age spots, since it’s not yet affected by sun exposure. Your age spots begin to fade or disappear. If your surface skin shows any effects of the treatment, it’s a temporary irritation like minor sunburn, but this fades quickly. And since lasers use only a single wavelength of light — one outside the UV spectrum — there’s no lasting damage.
Cynosure® Icon laser
The Wandisan-Rosete Medical Group offers several non-invasive techniques for addressing the melanin clumps that form your age discolorations, including Cynosure’s Icon laser, which targets uneven skin tone due to pigment issues, including sun damage. Our providers can assess your condition and recommend the best laser treatment, including the Icon, to help you accomplish your cosmetic goals.
To schedule your medical aesthetics consultation with the team, call us at 209-226-4308 or use the Request Appointment tool on this page.