Sun & Age Spot Removal

AGE & SUN SPOT REMOVAL

Those flat tan, brown, or black spots that we call “age spots” – also known as “sun spots” or “liver spots” – are one of the results of exposing our skin to the UV light from the sun over time. Luckily, age spot removal is easier now than it ever has been, thanks to the technology of the PicoSure® laser.

Technically called solar lentigines, these spots vary in size and usually appear on the face, backs of hands, arms, shoulders and chest – areas that have the most sun exposure. Despite the name (age spots) these spots are not caused by age, but rather by sun damage, or from hormonal changes. The spots are more common in people with fair complexions but can appear in people with darker skin as well.

The same PicoSure laser that targets and breaks up tattoo ink, also works to target and break up the pigmentation of age spots. Using a special lens, called the “Focus” lens – PicoSure treats age spots/sun spots/liver spots and other discolorations by bringing the pigment to the surface of the skin where it can be sloughed off.

Additionally, PicoSure also treats acne scars, wrinkles and melasma by sending precise pulses of light deep below the skin’s surface to target specific tissue and promote the production of collagen and elastin. Smoother, more beautiful skin appears as the body heals the laser-targeted tissue.

Other benefits of using the PicoSure laser to remove age spots include:

  • Little or no down time
  • Safer as the laser uses pressure pulses versus thermal (heat) pulses
  • FDA approved to treat sun spots, acne scars, wrinkles and malasma
  • Promotes the production of collagen and elastin
  • Award-winning technology

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Sun Spots and Age Spots 
Reasons, Prevention & Treatment in Austin

The human brain is wired in a way that it always strives for perfection - perfection in every aspect of life, whether it is mental or physical. That said, the last thing anyone wants is to have skin that belies their age, makes them look older and more weathered than they are. This is especially true if you live in a hot area like Austin, TX, where the sun shines in all its might for most of the year. Your skin is bound to show the effects - sun / age spots are the result.  

In our search for perfection, one major characteristic we are looking for is flawless skin free of any lines and dark spots. Although, it may seem strange that we live with such ‘shallow’ beauty standards, but the fact is that even thousands of years ago, Cleopatra used to apply sour milk on her skin to look like the God of beauty that she was. 

The kinds of lives that we live and the kinds of environments we live in are sure to eclipse the perfection of our skin through different abnormalities. One of the major reasons that our skins don’t come close to being perfect is the appearance of dark spots. These dark spots also referred to as brown spots, sun spots or age spots are formed due to one major reason. 

Sun: The main culprit behind dark spots

People who live in hot areas where sun shines for most part of the year will have their skin inundated with dark spots. It is also very likely that you go for your summer vacations to some sunny holiday spot, and come back with many cherishing memories and lots of darker spots on your skin.   

Cities like Austin, where sun shines and shines, people are more vulnerable to developing these dark spots. Therefore, it is necessary to educate yourself about the formation of these spots. In this article, we will try to discuss all the details about sun spots, their prevention and treatment. 

So without further ado, let’s get down to it!

Sun Spots

Sun spots are those damaged areas on your skin that appear as the consequence of constant exposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun. Ultraviolet rays are harmful to the human skin, and therefore, as a defense mechanism, the skin produces melanin in its outer layer to protect deeper layers from UV damage.

 Spots start to appear when this newly produced melanin begins to concentrate on specific spots instead of spreading uniformly throughout the skin. 

It is worth mentioning here that the excessive tanning can also cause sun spots.

What’s Melanin?

Melanin is the pigment produced by skin cells called melaoncytes. The amount of melanin in the skin decides the skin color of a person. In other words, dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light skinned people. 

Melanin doesn’t just give color to skin; it also protects it from the harmful rays of the sun (UV rays). With increased sun exposure, melanocytes increase the production of melanin to protect the skin from damage.

Are age spots different than sun spots?

Many people are confused as to the difference between sun spots and age spots. Simply put, they are the same thing. 

Sun spots are also called age spots due to the fact that they often appear as you age. People, above the age of 40, start to develop these concentrated patches of melanin because their bodies have experienced enough exposure to the sun in all those years. 

Basically the terms sun spots and age spots are used interchangeably because with age, the skin finds it difficult to heal itself from the damages of UV rays which results in the appearance of more dark spots or age/sun spots.

However, sun spots are not always an indication of age. People who spend more time under the sun with their skin exposed are likely to develop these dark spots way before the age of 40.

Are freckles different than age or sun spots?

Now we know that there is no significant difference between sun spots and age spots. Let’s go further and see if freckles are any different? Many people think sun spots are the same as freckles. Even though both form due to the concentrated presence of melanin that causes the spotting, they are actually quite different from each other.

  • Freckles are usually smaller in size than sun spots and age spots
  • Unlike sun spots, they can appear anywhere on the body
  • Freckles are usually inherited and fade away as you grow up

Are age spots or sun spots bad?

Sun spots themselves are not bad for the skin, except that they do have an impact on the way you look and perhaps your self-confidence. 

However, they are an indicator that you may have had more exposure to the sun which makes you more vulnerable to skin cancer. Apart from that, no one really likes to have uneven complexion and discolored skin. 


Prevention of Sun Spots and Age Spots

Prevention is always better than cure and if you don’t want to go for the treatment then it is better to take some preventive measures so that no sun spots get produced on your skin.

Staying out of the sun

As discussed, sun’s UV rays cause sunspots. 

The simplest way to prevent sun spots is to stay out of the sun but this is not practically possible especially if the type of work you do demands you to spend more time under the open sky. Try to limit your exposure between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. because UV rays are strongest at this time.

Covering the skin

We know that it’s not possible to avoid the sun completely. But, to lessen the effect of harmful sunrays, you can at least cover up the body.

Wear brimmed hats, cover your hands with long sleeves and skin near the eyes with goggles to limit the exposure to direct sunlight. If you are more conscious of the damages of UV rays, there is clothing material available to provide extra protection from the harmful rays as well.

Using sunscreens

Sunscreens have been made for a reason – to screen your skin from the sun! If you are going to spend a long period of time under the sun, without any shade, always remember to put sunscreen on your exposed body parts. SPF14 is a good place to start. 

Adopting healthy lifestyle

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a long-term solution for the prevention of sun spots. 

Eating fruits and vegetables which are rich in flavanoid helps in making the skin healthier. Flavanoids are a group of plant metabolites that makes skin more resistant to diseases. And although sun spots are caused naturally through no fault of your own, by giving your skin more strength to fight back, you can decrease spot formation.

Smokers, especially long-time smokers, are more vulnerable to sun spots. Smoking speeds up the process of skin aging and makes it vulnerable. An aged skin reacts to the exposure of sun by developing dark spots. Cutting down the consumption of your nicotine can prevent sun spots on your skin.

Why sun spots are inevitable

With all the prevention techniques and remedies in the world, it is still inevitable that you will develop sun spots. There are different reasons as to why we this is the case:

  • Aging is a natural process; no one can stop it no matter how healthy your lifestyle is. With age, we become more prone to the effects of sun, and then it’s just a matter of time before we develop age spots or sun spots.
  • With the ozone layer getting damaged due to greenhouse gases, UV rays coming out of the sun are getting stronger with time. This means each day, sunrays are getting more harmful.
  • Sunrays are an important source of producing vitamin D. It is important for us to develop strong bones. Therefore it is not wise to completely avoid the sun. Sunbathing is an effective way to absorb the sufficient amount of sunlight and one can get sun spots as its side effects.

Treatment of sun spots: Your answer to the sun’s unwanted gift

So if you have developed sun spots for whatever reason, you don’t have to worry because you can get rid of them. There are several treatments which are in use right now to treat the problem of sun spots and age spots.

Laser therapy 

Laser therapy is by far the most effective method of Age Spot or Sun Spot removal.

The innovation in laser technology has helped us to use it for clinical reasons. One such purpose of laser treatment is to lift and remove sun/age spots. Most lasers use a single highly energized electromagnetic ray which destroys the extra melanin present in those spots. Picosure uses a proprietary hand piece that transfers the single ray into hundreds of penetrating rays that lift dark spots to the surface so they can sluff-off.
 
There are several benefits of laser therapy which provides it with an edge over all the other techniques.
  • Laser treatment is an office-based procedure, no needles and anesthesia are involved in the process
  • Lasers work on sun spots without damaging the skin’s surface
  • In two to three sessions, you effectively get rid of your sun spots for good

Medications

There are some prescription bleaching creams available that can be used for the gradual lightening and fading of those dark spots. Hydroquinone and Tretinoin are the usual bleaching options used for this purpose. These creams can also be combined with certain types of steroids to increase the effectiveness of the treatment. 

However, adopting these treatments without the advice of experts can also result in adversely affect the condition. 

Makeup accessories and sunscreens coming with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or above are also used to prevent and treat the problem of dark spots.

However, treatment with medications can take a lot of time and most of these creams only offer temporary respite. Medications can also bring a lot of side effects such as:
  • Itching
  • Burning and redness of the skin
  • Dried skin
All these side effects are not worth it when compared to the effectiveness of these treatments.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is a treatment used to destroy the abnormal tissues and cells by producing extreme cold temperatures. 

Freezing agents such as liquid nitrogen and argon gas are used to achieve those exceptionally lower temperatures.
In the treatment of sun and age spots, Cryotherapy is used by filling these spots with freezing agents to destroy extra pigment in the cells. 

It is an effective treatment to remove the spots but there are certain limitations and side effects of the treatment.
  • Cryotherapy can only be used for a single or small group of adjacent sun spots.
  • In some cases, scars and skin discoloration are the adverse side effects of this treatment.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy

Unlike lasers, IPL uses more than one wavelength of light to treat the effected skin.

Filters are used to select the specific wavelength for particular area. Wavelengths with more penetration power works for the deeper layers of the skin, while short wavelengths are used for the upper layers.

IPL is a more holistic approach to treating skin. What that means is that while it does remove sun spots, that not the only thing it will do. 

Medical dermabrasion

Dermabrasion doesn’t classify as a chemical or surgical procedure but it can also effectively treat the problem of sun spots. 

Dermabrasion is the process in which the top most layer of the skin is gently exfoliated through rotating brush made of hard materials like diamond chips. Removing the outer skin promotes the growth of healthy new skin.

Chemical Peeling

Chemical peeling is one of the oldest skin treatment procedures out there. 

In it, a chemical is used to peel off the outer layer of skin. The mixture of chemicals prepared for peeling contains several mild acids combined with botanical emollients. Nowadays, people get treated with chemical mixtures prepared according to their skin type.

Ready to take action and remove those pesky age spots or sun spots?

In a city like Austin, where you experience scorching heat throughout the summer, it is not easy to protect yourself from the wrath of sun. Especially if your work demands you to stay and stand in the sun for long period, it is all but natural that you will get sun spots or age spots.  

However the good news is you that can get rid of those spots. The treatments we’ve discussed above are convenient, involve no pain and have very insignificant side effects. What’s the point of feeling inferior and constantly sulking about those sun spots when you easily get your skin clear of them?

Want to free yourself from those pesky sun spots or age spots for good? 

Call us (512) 551-8418 or contact us for more information.

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