What Causes Sunspots and How Are They Treated?

Sunspots are harmless, flat brown spots that develop on areas of skin frequently exposed to the sun. They may also be referred to as age spots or liver spots, though they don’t have anything to do with the liver. While they commonly occur in people over the age of 50, they can also develop in younger individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun without SPF.

Source of Sunspots

According to the Mayo Clinic, sunspots are a result of overactivity in pigment cells. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) lights from the sun’s rays or tanning beds accelerates the production of melanin, a pigment responsible for your skin color. After years of exposure, melanin may clump together or be produced in higher concentrations, causing sunspots. These skin imperfections are more likely to develop in individuals with light skin.

Sunspot Treatments

While there’s no medical need to remove sunspots, many people wish to reduce their appearance for cosmetic reasons. Here are a few of the most popular treatments available.

Facial Peels

Chemical peels deliver a special chemical formula to the skin under a physician’s care to create controlled wounds. This prompts the surface skin to gently peel off, allowing a new layer of healthy skin to replace it. While you may experience temporary symptoms such as a burning sensation, the trade-off is drastically reduced sunspots. Many patients also experience a reduction in wrinkles, fine lines, acne scarring, and other skin imperfections.

Laser Treatment

Skin laser treatments use specific wavelengths to strategically target certain issues. For instance, NewSurg laser treatments can target areas of sun damage, such as sunspots, as well as scars and pigmented moles. The treatment can be applied on the face, neck, chest, and upper body. The Fraxel Dual laser can also fade unwanted sunspots and improve overall skin tone by resurfacing the skin and stimulating collagen growth.

Microdermabrasion

A physical method of skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive treatment in which crystals are delivered to the skin at high velocity and then immediately suctioned up using a special device. A series of treatments can refine the skin’s texture and increase elastin production, while also reducing the appearance of sunspots.

Dermaplaning

Dermaplaning is a form of gentle exfoliation in which the top layers of dead skin are removed, including those that have been damaged by the sun. In this procedure, a dermaplaning tool delivers precision scrapes at 45-degree angles to remove the uppermost layer. It’s also a great facial treatment for summer, providing smoother, more evenly-toned skin.

If you’re seeking treatment for your sunspots or you have another cosmetic concern, allow our team of experienced skincare professionals to help. Visit our gallery to view before and after photos of sunspot treatments, or call (404) 355-5484 to schedule your appointment.

Posted on behalf of Olansky Dermatology & Aesthetics