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Sunspots & Sun Damage

What are Sunspots and Sun Damage?

Sunspots and sun damage, sometimes referred to as liver spots or age spots, are small, flat and dark areas on the skin. They typically show up on parts of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure such as the face, hands, arms and shoulders. Most common in older people, anyone can get them if they spend too much time exposed to the sun.

Signs and Symptoms of Sunspots

Sunspots are most common in adults with light skin but they can appear on anybody. Signs of sun damage include:

  • Oval areas of darkened pigmentation
  • Typically present in areas exposed to sun such as forehead or the tops of shoulders
  • Marks that range in size from freckle-sized to 0.5 inches
  • Marks that do not fade or disappear when skin is not exposed to sun

Different Types of Sun Damage

The cumulative effect of sun damage leads to varying physical changes to the skin. The descriptions below help identify what some of these changes can be:

  • Lentigo: Flat brown spot, with a clearly defined border, often referred to as a “sunspot.”
  • Poikiloderma: Brown pigmentation, redness and dilated blood vessels on the sides of the neck and chest.
  • Telengiectasias: Dilation of small blood vessels commonly seen on the cheeks, nose, chin and chest.
  • Actinic Keratoses (precancerous lesion): Persistent rough, scaly spots that appear on sun exposed areas due to years of sun exposure. A small percentage of these lesions left untreated can develop into skin cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma.

What Causes Sunspots?

Sunspots or sun damage are caused by exposure to the UV light in the sun or in commercial tanning beds. This exposure causes the pigment cells in the skin to become overactive. Those with lighter skin tones or who have a history of sunburn or excess sun exposure are more likely to develop the condition.

Before and After Photos

AFTER TREATMENTS WITH LIMELIGHT AND HARMONY IPL Limelight Harmony Brown Spots Before After 01

AFTER 3 TREATMENTS WITH LIMELIGHT AND MICROPEN MicroPen LimeLight Brown Spots Before After 01

AFTER TREATMENTS WITH VARILITE VariLite Brown Spots Before After 01

PRE AND POST SERIES OF 3 TREATMENTS WITH IPL unnamed 1

BEFORE BRIGHTENING PEEL LEVEL 2 AND 6 WEEKS POST BRIGHTENING PEEL LEVEL 2 Brightening Peel Level 2 Chemical Peel Before After 01 061020 1

BEFORE BRIGHTENING PEEL LEVEL 2 AND 6 WEEKS POST BRIGHTENING PEEL LEVEL 2

Brightening Peel Level 2 Chemical Peel Before After 02 061020 1

IPL — 1 WEEK AFTER TREATMENT

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How Sunspots are Treated


Treatment depends on a number of factors including skin type, location and extent of sun damage. Your provider will discuss the best treatment options for your specific areas of concern.

Topical Treatment:

Topical products are available to lighten unwanted sun spots on the skin. These products range from over-the-counter lighteners or brighteners to prescription grade hydroquinone.There are several topical treatments to target actinic keratoses focally or over a large area. Expected effects can include irritation and redness so it is important to discuss proper use of the medication with your doctor.

In-Office Treatments:

  • Liquid nitrogen: This in-office procedure using liquid nitrogen can treat sun spots and actinic keratoses. It may be necessary for multiple treatments before the lesions are completely resolved.
  • Photorejuvenation: There are multiple laser and light treatments available that help many of the different forms of sun damage including pigmentation or sun spots, redness and broken blood vessels. Our laser team will develop a treatment plan to help you see the best results.
  • Photodynamic therapy: A topical photo-sensitizing solution can be applied prior to photorejuvenation to treat actinic keratoses.

Brightening Peels

Brightening peels are chemical peels formulated to target pigmentation, including stubborn melasma and sunspots. Learn More

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel works to hasten this process, revealing newer and healthier cells below the skin’s surface. Learn More

Dermapeel

DermaPeel is our signature aesthetic treatment, which combines a chemical and physical exfoliation. Learn More

Fraxel

A Fraxel laser is used primarily in the cosmetic treatment of the face. Learn More

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone works to lighten the skin by reducing the number of melanocytes present. Learn More

IPL

IPL is a light treatment used to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. IPL is different from a laser which uses only one wavelength of light. Learn More

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is a dermatological procedure that uses lasers to smooth and refine the surface of the skin while also reinvigorating the layers of skin below. Learn More

Photofacials

Photofacials use IPL light treatment to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. Learn More

Skin Resurfacing + Micro-Needling

Fractionated laser resurfacing and microneedling are used to decrease the appearance of sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scarring. Learn More

Skin Tightening Treatments

Skin tightening procedures use targeted energy to heat the layers of the skin below the epidermis. Learn More

Tretinoin

A derivative of vitamin A, Tretinoin is a topical retinoid solution that works by irritating the cells of the skin to stimulate growth and increase the turnover and shedding of old, dead cells in the skin. Learn More

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