Sun spots, age spots, and wrinkles, often attributed to aging, are in fact secondary to sun damage. With an average of 300 sunny days a year in Southern California, it’s difficult to avoid the intense sun rays at all times and prevent the formation of the ensuing bothersome symptoms on our bodies. Freckles, on the other hand, also caused by sun damage, are rarely attributed to aging—we all have seen freckles on the faces of children, sometimes as young as age 1 or 2.
Freckles (also known as ephelides) are multiple, flat, circular spots which develop over sun-exposed surfaces, particularly the cheeks, nose, upper shoulders, and arm. The spots develop due to an increase in the amount of melanin, a dark pigment, in cells called melanocytes. Freckles are always darker than the surrounding skin and may be red, yellow, light brown or dark brown. They are prominent in summer but fade considerably or disappear in winter. Fair-skinned people, especially those with red hair, have an inherited predisposition for them. The prominence of freckles is related to sun exposure—sunburn makes them bigger and darker. Freckles caused by sunburn have irregular jagged borders and commonly appear on the upper back and shoulders where people get their most severe sunburns. There is no cure for freckles; however, several safe and effective methods are available to help lighten or reduce their appearance. Sun avoidance and sun protection may help to suppress their appearance.
IPL PHOTOFACIAL TREATMENT FOR FRECKLES
Sun spots, also known as age spots or liver spots are harmless, large, flat, gray, brown, freckle-like circular spots, often with irregular borders. They vary in size from as small as a pea to as large as a nickel. Unlike freckles, these spots tend to persist and do not fade and darken with the seasons. Sun spots are common in those with fair skin but are frequently seen in those who tan easily or have naturally dark skin. Although these spots appear on the skin of older adults, age spots, or liver spots have little to do with aging or the liver. They develop slowly over time and get bigger as our skin produces excess melanin (pigment) in response to overexposure to sunlight. It is for this reason that these spots usually appear on the face, hands, shoulders and arms—areas of the body most exposed to the sun. Accordingly, the prevention of age spots requires sun avoidance and sun protection. Sun spots are harmless and do not need to be treated; however, many people seek treatment because they believe these spots can detract from their skin’s appearance, making them look older. Although age spots do not change into cancerous growths, some skin cancers may resemble these spots. Accordingly, anyone who has one or more uncertain pigmented spot should report them to a physician or dermatologist for evaluation.
SUN AND AGE SPOTS TREATED USING IPL PHOTOREJUVENATION
Traditional treatments for sun spots and freckles, such as topical bleaching agents and medications, often produce only temporary results. In contrast, Dr. R. Dishakjian, the cosmetic surgeon at Nu Vela, uses several effective and quality therapies to get rid of unwanted sun damage. The minimally invasive photorejuvenation light and laser technologies available at the Center are specially designed to reduce your undesirable age spots and freckles, and will even reduce any small facial veins and superficial or moderately deep wrinkles (only laser resurfacing).
During your consultation, Dr. Dishakjian will observe your skin tone to tailor a treatment that fits your lifestyle and matches your skin’s condition and your desired results. The cosmetic procedures designed to reduce the appearance of redness and age or sun spots available at Nu Vela are as follows:
Safely uses one of the chemicals intended for skin peeling, from superficial to medium depth, to get rid of the undesirable spots. As the damaged skin peels, new skin forms to take its place. Superficial chemical peels require several treatments to achieve good results. Read more . . .
Consists of sanding down the surface layer of the skin carrying the spots with a rapidly rotating head containing microcrystals. A new layer of skin grows and takes the place of abraded skin. Read more . . .
IPL Photofacial – Sciton’s BBL™ technology
The Sciton’s BBL™s Skin Rejuvenation system, used at the Center, uses the most advanced and effective IPL technology on the market. The IPL system works much like a laser, but instead of having just one wavelength of light, the machine produces a spectrum of light made up of a range of wavelengths. By selecting an appropriate filter, your doctor will select the wavelength range to treat the damage caused by skin aging and sun exposure. Photothermal energy delivered by the BBL™ hand-piece will gently heat up the upper layers of your skin and target the melanin pigment responsible for the color of freckles and sun or age spots. Heat absorbed by the targeted areas will stimulate your skin cells to generate new collagen helping restore your skin to its natural appearance, fading the pigmented spots, blending the skin’s natural colors and making it smoother, vibrant and younger looking.
During the procedure, the doctor applies a cooling gel on the skin and directs pulses of light to your skin using the BBL™ hand-piece. You may feel a very slight sting, like the snapping of a small rubber band, which will soon subsides. Any area of your body can be treated, and typically, two to four treatments, about 1 month apart, will produce the desired results. You can see some improvement with each treatment, but it’s common for your response to be slightly different to each treatment. The IPL procedure is non-invasive and gentle with virtually no downtime. You may even apply foundation or concealer immediately after treatment. More about IPL skin treatment.
Cutera’s Solar Genesis technology for sun and age spots removal
Solar Genesis is a pulsed light system that is exceptionally effective at treating undesired pigment discoloration. It is an innovative skin therapy to quickly, safely and comfortably remove freckles and sun or age spots from your face, chest, arms and hands. The treatment, which takes less than thirty minutes, delivers visible light which is selectively absorbed by the pigmented spots on your skin.
With Solar Genesis there is no need to apply topical anesthetic or gel before the procedure. Immediately following the treatment, freckles and the sun spots may start to darken and you may notice a slight reddening of the surrounding skin. This typically subsides within a couple of hours. Over the course of the next one to three weeks, the darkened sun and age spots will fade and flake off.
Laser resurfacing with Sciton’s Contour TRL™ laser
Your doctor may choose laser resurfacing to treat your sun spots or freckles, in case you also struggle with other unsightly facial conditions, such as superficial to moderately deep wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity, and visible veins. The state-of-the-art Erbium:YAG laser for laser resurfacing used at Nu Vela is the Contour TRL™, manufactured by Sciton. This laser peels the skin at a precisely controlled depth and the procedure creates a fresh surface over which new skin can grow.
Laser resurfacing is an ablative laser modality that removes most age spots, age related discoloration, and wrinkles, by completely “burning” off superficial skin layers in just one session. Because of the penetrating nature of this laser and the depth of treatment; however, laser resurfacing is more painful and may require a recovery period of a few days to two weeks depending on the depth of the peel.
A healing period always follows resurfacing during which you should strictly follow the detailed skin care instructions provided by your physician. Superficial skin layers grow back to replace the layers that were removed. Swelling, itching, redness, crusting, and tenderness, which may last for several days, are temporary side effects of laser resurfacing. Camouflage makeup can conceal the redness until the healing is complete. During this period, you should always wear sunscreen as your fresh skin will be very susceptible to sun damage. More about laser skin resurfacing.
PHOTO REJUVENATION BEFORE & AFTER PHOTOS
Fractional laser resurfacing
Whereas full field laser resurfacing removes the entire skin surface and reduces all sun and age spots in one session, the gentler fractional laser resurfacing, removes only a fraction of the skin and as a consequence yields less dramatic results with much shorter healing period. Accordingly, multiple treatments are required to reduce sun and age spots in a given area.
At Nu Vela, Dr. Dishakjian uses Sciton’s ProFractional-XC Erbium:YAG cutting-edge laser for fractional laser skin resurfacing. This laser can be used on all skin types, both on face and body. During the treatment, laser beams penetrate deep into the dermis to create thousands of microscopic “wounds” in the skin which are surrounded by areas of healthy, untreated skin. There is only little pain during the procedure and the healing process is significantly accelerated by the untreated skin surrounding the wounded columns. More about ProFractional-XC Therapy™.
SUN AND AGE SPOTS TREATED USING IPL PHOTOREJUVENATION
You may reach our Los Angeles medical spa by clicking the “Contact” button at the top of the page, or by calling 818-832-4500. Our receptionist will be delighted to assist you with any enquiries regarding cost, additional information, or scheduling a consultation session with Dr. Dishakjian, the cosmetic surgeon of the center. Consultations with the doctor are free with the purchase of any service. We charge a nominal refundable consultation fee for the first office visit only. This fee is fully credited towards a subsequently purchased service.