Over the years, exposure to the sun can wreak havoc on your skin, causing 90% of the visible signs of aging, which include wrinkles and hard-to-hide age spots.
Also called sun spots or liver spots, these discolorations tend to crop up in highly exposed areas, such as on your face, your hands, or your forearms.
Whether you have already developed age spots or you want to prevent them from forming, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Bruce Saal and our team here at Los Gatos Dermatology present the following.
What causes age spots
As one of the names of the discolorations implies, sun spots form on the heels of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But this explanation doesn’t clarify why the spots are associated with age.
The reason why we often refer to the discolorations as age spots is because your skin can produce excess melanin (the pigment in your skin) as you grow older, and this melanin can act erratically and cluster.
While age spots form most often on the face, hands, and arms, you may develop them on your legs, too.
Age spots are far more common in people with lighter skin tones, and there may be a hereditary component that makes you more prone to developing the discolorations.
Treating age spots
If you’ve developed age spots in highly visible areas and you want to return your skin to a more even tone, we can help eliminate the discolorations.
We offer an advanced laser technology called intense pulsed light (IPL), which allows us to direct bursts of light into your skin to break up the melanin clusters. After your IPL treatment, the age spots may darken temporarily, but rest assured, this is normal. Within a week or two, the area will begin to lighten.
Depending on the number of age spots and how dark they are, you may benefit from a series of IPL treatments, which we space apart to allow time for your skin to respond.
If you only have one or two age spots that you’d like to address, we may recommend using liquid nitrogen to freeze the areas. As with IPL, the age spot will darken first and then flake off over the course of a week or two.
Preventing age spots
After we remove your age spots, do what you can to prevent them from returning. The best protection against age spots is simple — avoid exposure to the sun. Using sunscreen, covering up, and staying out of the sun during peak hours (between 10am and 2pm) are great steps in that direction.
Since we live in sunny California, you have to be extra vigilant about sun exposure, so we suggest that you use face creams with sun protection factor (SPF) in them and always keep sunscreen and a hat on hand.
To banish existing age spots, quickly and easily, contact our office in Los Gatos, California, to schedule an appointment.