If you have sunspots, you’re not alone. Also known as hyperpigmentation, these spots are typically brown, flat, or slightly elevated patches of discoloured skin. These spots can be anywhere on the face or body and usually look like freckles, but they are generally larger. Sunspots can vary in size and sometimes have a different colour. They can be tan, red, or brown, and some look like bruises.
Why Do Sun or Age Spots Occur?
Hyperpigmentation is primarily the result of the overproduction of melanin from the melanocytes in the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, which is then transferred to the epidermis.
Melanin helps to protect the body from the harmful effects of UV rays by absorbing them. When melanocytes become damaged by UV rays, they overproduce melanin in an attempt to heal the damage, resulting in dark patches or spots of different sizes and shapes.
Hyperpigmentation can also be caused when melanocytes are damaged by certain medications or conditions, such as acne or skin inflammation. One of its most common types is the mentioned sun or age spots.
How to Get Rid of Sunspots
Sunspots can be treated in a variety of ways. In many cases, they are benign, which means they are non-cancerous. However, it is always recommended to see your dermatologist and ensure that your sunspots are non-cancerous. If they are non-cancerous, your dermatologist will most likely recommend a course of chemical peels or laser treatments.
Here are some of the popular treatments available today:
- Laser Light Therapy: Light therapy is a non-invasive, handheld laser device. It is one of the most popular treatments for removing sunspots. Light therapy is primarily used to destroy melanin in the skin and reduce the size of the sunspots. It is a safe and effective treatment with little to no side effects.
- Acid Peels: An acid peel is a chemical peel primarily used for sunspots. The main chemical found in an acid peel is glycolic acid or salicylic acid, glycolic being a naturally occurring chemical in the body. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent. It also promotes collagen production and can be used to treat a myriad of skin conditions, such as acne scars.
- Laser Skin Resurfacing: Laser skin resurfacing is one of the most popular treatments for sunspots. It uses the laser to remove a layer of the skin, which can then be replaced with newly generated skin. Laser skin resurfacing is typically used for large, flat, and brown sunspots.
- Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a treatment that uses a small vacuum to remove old skin cells from the skin’s surface, which are then replaced with fresh, new skin cells. While it is primarily used for removing wrinkles and fine lines, it can also remove sunspots.
- Plasma Pen Treatment: This revolutionary treatment is used to treat and prevent sunspots. The plasma pen emits gentle electromagnetic energy known as a plasma arc to the skin to instantly break the pigment up for it to be easily and simply wiped away. Plasma Pen treatments have a fast healing process whilst reducing swelling and redness while also expediting skin cell regeneration in the area. More importantly, the treatment is fast, lasting only a few minutes depending on the size of the spots you are treating. Expect your skin to be smooth and blemish-free after.
Sunspots or age spots are very common, particularly for people with fair skin exposed to the sun for long periods. While sunspots are harmless and benign, they are very unattractive. Fortunately, various treatments are available today to help with their removal.
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