Age spots appear most commonly on sun-exposed areas of the body in adults over the age of 40. While age spots are harmless, they can contribute to an uneven skin tone and are considered unattractive by many people. At Marina Dermatology, we offer a number of treatments to reduce the appearance of age spots on the skin. Our Board Certified Dermatologist also takes the time to teach our patients in the Marina Del Rey area how to protect their skin so age spots are less likely to appear.
Also referred to as liver spots, sun spots, and solar lentigines, age spots may appear as grey, brown, or black marks on the skin. Age spots form flat against the skin and can appear in a variety of shapes. As the name indicates, age spots tend to appear as we get older. They are primarily caused by many years of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. When our skin is exposed to UV rays, melanin (the substance that gives skin its color) production increases and our skin becomes tanned. The tan is our body’s way of protecting the deeper layers of skin from further UV damage. Over the years, areas of the skin that receive more frequent exposure to sunlight may produce age spots as the melanin clumps in these areas or is produced in higher amounts. We also tend to produce more melanin as we age, increasing the occurrence of sun spots as we grow older. Anyone can experience age spots, but they seem to occur more frequently in people with light skin and those who received greater amounts of sun exposure when they were younger. Thanks to our sunny weather year-round, Los Angeles area patients commonly experience age spots. Genetics may also play a role in the development of age spots.
The best way to treat age spots is to prevent them from occurring. Our Dermatologist recommends that patients limit their exposure to the sun during the brightest hours of the day and always wear sunscreen and protective clothing. This may slow or prevent age spots from appearing on your skin. It’s also important to teach your children to protect their skin from an early age, so they can enjoy healthy, beautiful skin later in life. Many of our patients, however, already have age spots and preventative advice is of little help to them now. For these patients, we offer effective age spot treatments at both of our LA offices. The goal of age spot treatment is to lighten or remove the spots so the skin tone appears more even and young. We offer the following age spot treatments at Marina Dermatology:
- Topical Medications: In certain cases, age spots may respond well to bleaching creams, retinoids, and/or mild steroid creams. These topical medications are applied to the surface of the skin over several weeks or months and may eventually fade the sun spot.
- Laser Treatments: Lasers can be used to breakup and destroy melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) in the skin. The laser does not cause damage to the skin’s surface, but can occasionally result in a slight discoloration of the skin. In most cases, several treatment sessions are required to effectively reduce the age spots. Depending on the extent of spotting being treated, the treatment time may extend over a few weeks or months.
- Microdermabrasion: During this treatment, a specialized rotating brush will be used to remove the surface layer of the skin above the age spot. The body responds by forming a new, fresh layer of skin, which is typically free from the darker pigmentation of age spots.
- Chemical Peel: Similar to microdermabrasion, this treatment involves removing the outer layer of the skin through the use of an acid formula, which is applied above the sun spot. Several treatment sessions may be required to completely fade the age spot.
If you are interested in correcting age spots on your skin, please contact one of our Los Angeles offices today. Our Dermatologist will be able to suggest a solution to improve the appearance of your skin by minimizing age spots. We also welcome you to set up an appointment to learn more about proper skin care and ways to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays.