Spots. We like them on some things, like a nice spring dress. On the skin, not so much. Brown spots on the skin have been referred to as age spots. Our grandparents may have called them liver spots (because it was wrongly believed that spots indicated a liver problem). By whatever name, spots on the skin are a problem. According to studies, the discolorations are related to sun damage. When the skin is exposed to the sun, the body produces melanin to protect it from damage. Sometimes, this skin-coloring chemical builds up in small groups. The thing about this buildup is that it may not reveal itself until years later.
Sun spots usually indicate nothing more than some superficial damage to the skin. Still, because sun damage poses a risk for squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma, the first thing to do when they show up is consult with a dermatologist. A skin cancer screening doesn’t take very long at all and it can give you peace of mind knowing that your skin care plan can focus on cosmetic issues only.
There are several ways that sun spots can be treated. Sometimes, patients select more than one option to get the best results. Suggestions include:
- Treat spots at their source. Spots are a buildup of melanin that have moved up from the dermis to the epidermis. One of the most efficient ways to fade them is to break up the melanin into smaller particles. Laser devices are great at this. Adjusted to the right wavelength for melanin, laser light can target pigmented spots quickly and accurately.
- Exfoliate. While you cannot exfoliate sun spots away, there is value in helping the skin slough off dead and damaged cells. Exfoliation is done in our offices in the form of chemical peels. Patients may also stimulate optimal cellular turnover with microneedling.
- Consider a medical-grade spot reducer. When you consult with a dermatologist about dark spots, you can find out all sorts of relevant information. Your dermatologist may recommend a particular product that you can use either at the same time as other treatments or after your treatment program is complete.
When it comes to treating sun spots, we cannot forget to mention the importance of wearing sunscreen every single day, even on days you’ll be running errands and in and out of your car. To schedule a visit to our Henderson or Las Vegas office, call 702-805-2058.