When it comes to sun spots treatment, you have several medical dermatology options here, at Colorado Springs Dermatology Clinic and Rocky Mountain Laser Center in Colorado Springs. Talk to a physician for answers.
If you have noticed large or small brown spots developing on your face or have large patches of brownish discolored areas on your skin that get darker during the summer, you may have developed sun spots. Here at Rocky Mountain Laser Center in Colorado Springs, we have a variety of treatments available to treat all types of discolored skin.
What causes sun spots?
These blotchy brown spots, also called hyperpigmentation, can be caused by a number of reasons. Years of sun exposure, genetics, age or medications including hormonal products can contribute to the development of brown spots, focal areas of a high number of pigment cells called melanin. Excess melanin may collect either in the top layer of skin (epidermis) or deeper layers (dermis). Because they present in different ways, sun spots require an individualized treatment program.
Are there different types of brown spots?
Not all brown spots are the same, and various types call for customized treatment. Blotchy brown spots called melasma may be caused by sun damage or by pregnancy, menopause or hormonal medications like birth control pills. Age spots or “liver spots” are smaller, darker areas of pigmentation caused by extensive sun damage and age and are usually seen on face, arms, legs and the backs of the hands. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is caused by trauma to the skin including acne, poorly administered laser treatment or chemical peels or rashes like psoriasis and eczema.
How can sun spots be treated?
Most commonly, brown spots are treated by lasers and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments. These light-based procedures target the melanin in the brown spot without damaging surrounding skin, making them the safest and most effective way to eradicate sun spots and discolored brown patches.
Laser Treatment for Sun Spots
Lasers give off a single very specific beam targeted to eliminate a specific skin problem, and some lasers have been designed just for brown spot removal. Treatment generally requires one or two sessions.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Treatment
IPL devises are used to treat combinations of skin issues, rather than the single target of laser treatments. The procedure works to make skin more evenly colored and by decreasing uneven, discolored areas like sun spots while brightening the skin and imparting a more youthful appearance. Because the IPL machine can deliver a wide range of light colors at the same time, it can be adjusted to treat large areas suffering from multiple conditions.
What is the treatment process?
During laser treatment, the laser is focused on specific spots. With IPL, the wand is moved over an entire treatment site, lightening and diffusing all types of sun damage on the face, neck, arms, legs and chest.
What can I expect after treatment?
IPL treatments generally take between 15 and 30 minutes and require no anesthesia. Patients report discomfort afterward similar to a mild sunburn and skin may be red for a few hours. Over the next few weeks, treated brown spots may darken, fade and flake off. A series of up to four treatments administered at one month intervals may be required for optimal results.
Other Sun Spot Treatments
Treatments like laser skin resurfacing that are designed to smooth out the texture of the skin are also used to diffuse brown spots. The type of treatment your physician chooses will depend on whether you have deep sun damage and whether you have red spots in addition to brown areas.
Used on a variety of skin conditions in addition to brown spots, Fraxel ReStore uses pulses from a laser directed at tiny areas of skin in a desired area. Pulses cause controlled damage, resulting in the body growing new, youthful skin to grow back and replace damaged skin. Treatment lasts about 30 minutes and causes mild to moderate pain. You may experience some redness and swelling for a day or two, and you will need to protect the skin with sun screen and other skin protection.
How is treatment paid for?
Considered a cosmetic procedure, sun spot treatment is not normally covered by insurance.