The Best Ways to Eliminate Age Spots
Age spots are exactly what they sound like: the brown spots that develop on our faces, hands, backs, chests, and shoulders as we get older. These marks, sometimes called liver spots, are the cumulative result of exposure to the sun over time. Although they can develop at any age, they are more likely to show up after 50 and are typically an outward sign of aging.
Fortunately, there are numerous creams and lotions available, both by prescription and over the counter, as well as a variety of cutting-edge cosmetic procedures to fade or eliminate these unattractive skin blemishes.
The abundance of choices can be overwhelming, and not all products are equally effective, so before you begin any treatment you should consult dermatologist Dr. Bruce Saal. He takes the time to perform a thorough skin evaluation, discusses your goals and lifestyle, and can recommend the best and most effective treatment for your unique skin.
Here are just a few of the most effective ways to reduce, and even eliminate, age spots:
Intense pulsed light (IPL)
IPL is similar to a laser skin treatment, except that it uses a broad spectrum of light rather than a single, focused wavelength. This allows for coverage of a wider area of the skin. Both laser and IPL are effective at lightening and, in many cases, eliminating age spots, but IPL has a lower risk of side effects such as skin discoloration and bruising.
The light energy helps to break up the pigment in the skin, causing age spots to fade and eventually disappear. For maximum results, several procedures spaced 3-4 weeks apart may be recommended. IPL is also effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles, acne, and rosacea.
Skin lightening creams and lotions
When it comes to their effectiveness, not all creams and lotions are created equal, and some even contain harmful ingredients. Dr. Saal can recommend the safest, most effective prescription and over-the-counter products to help fade your brown spots. A good rule of thumb is to look for products with hydroquinone, a glycolic acid, or retinol.
Besides making sure you’re using the right product, the key to the efficacy of lotions and creams is regular use. These products may take several months to produce a noticeable difference.
A microdermabrasion treatment smooths away skin imperfections, such as brown spots and fine lines, and improves your skin’s texture. Your provider uses a wand or brush to gently sand down the top layer of your skin, and new, fresh skin forms in its place, without the conspicuous age spots.
Several treatments are usually necessary to achieve maximum results. Side effects include temporary redness and irritation, but they usually subside quickly.
Age spot prevention
The best way to ensure that no one notices your age spots is to prevent them from developing in the first place. It’s important to use sunscreen whenever you’re exposed to the sun, even when you’re driving in your car, and to re-apply every two hours. Choose a product that offers broad-spectrum protection with an SPF of at least 30.
Your skin may be extra sensitive to ultraviolet rays after any of the above treatments, and it’s especially important to protect yourself from the sun after you've had any cosmetic skin procedure.
Dr. Saal takes the time to evaluate your dermatological health and ensure that you get the best treatment to meet your aesthetic goals. For more information about getting rid of your age spots, call Dr. Saal at Los Gatos Dermatology in Los Gatos, California, or book an appointment online today.