Dark spots are a common, and usually unwelcome, sign of aging. Sometimes known as age spots or even liver spots, sun spots are harmless, but often embarrassing. Fortunately, dermatologists can provide hyperpigmentation treatment that reduces dark spots and restores the youthful appearance of the skin.
Age spots typically appear as flat, brown areas of skin, but they can also appear as tan or black spots. These dark spots can vary in size but are larger than freckles. While they can appear almost anywhere on the skin, they usually develop in areas most likely to be uncovered and therefore exposed to the sun, such as the face, shoulders, arms, and hands. Dark spots usually develop as a result of sun damage.
Brown spots are very common in people over the age of 40. This is because, as we age, the clumps of melanin continue to accumulate and grow denser over the years. The body’s production of melanin also decreases over the years, which leaves skin looking especially pale – except in the areas where pigment has clumped. Brown spots really stand out against paler skin.
Ultraviolet (UV) light penetrates deep into the skin and triggers the production of melanin, which is a pigment that gives skin its color. Melanin also causes the skin to tan upon exposure to UV radiation in sunlight or tanning beds. Melanin protects the skin from burning. Overproduction of melanin can cause the pigment to clump and move upwards to the surface of the skin, resulting in a visible dark spot.
Dark spots on the skin can occur in various areas of the body. Here are some common locations where dark spots may appear:
Treatment for brown spots always starts with an accurate assessment, as the course of treatment can depend on the location and appearance of age spots. While most brown spots are flat, for example, some are raised and rough in texture. These spots, known as seborrheic keratoses, are non-cancerous skin growths. They may appear anywhere on the body, though they most commonly appear on the back, neck, and face. This type of brown spot grows rapidly and causes itchiness and irritation, which is often a cause of concern for patients. Fortunately, many of the treatments for flat dark spots will also treat seborrheic keratoses.
Applied with a cotton swab, liquid nitrogen destroys the excess pigment that causes brown spots. Spray treatments may be effective for small groupings of spots. Treated skin appears lighter as it heals.
Microdermabrasion gently scrubs away the discolored skin cells to treat age spots. The treatment involves spraying aluminum oxide or sodium chloride crystals onto the skin to remove the topmost layer of skin; a special wand removes the crystals along with the treated skin cells. Microdermabrasion typically requires several sessions over several months.
Dermatologists sometimes recommend laser treatment for age spots. Laser resurfacing uses the power of light energy to reduce the appearance of dark spots. Dark skin cells absorb the light energy pulses emitted by the laser head. Once inside, the energy from the laser kills the dark skin cell. Laser resurfacing typically requires two to three sessions.
Cosmetic peels exfoliate the skin, which means the procedure removes old skin cells to allow new skin cells to grow there. Chemical peels can reduce the appearance of brown spots as well as acne scars, sun damage, texture issues, fine lines, and other imperfections. Multiple treatments can provide substantial results.
At the Center for Derm Excellence, our highly-skilled dermatologists offer a range of treatments to treat dark spots. We use advanced laser technology to precisely target areas of concern while keeping surrounding healthy tissue intact. Our experienced team will evaluate your skin and recommend a tailored treatment plan that best addresses your individual concerns. To learn more about brown spot removal, please call (503) 297-3440 today.