If you've ever wondered about those pesky, flat pigmented spots that seem to appear out of nowhere as you age, you've come to the right place. Age spots, also known as liver spots, are a common concern for many individuals, and understanding what they are and how to deal with them can be the key to achieving clearer, more youthful-looking skin.
What Are Age Spots and Why Do They Form?
Age spots which are also known as liver spots are flat pigmented lesions that form on the skin and can vary in colour from light tan to dark lesions. They are often harmless lesions which form due to sun exposure which happens over the years. They are more common in older skins due to years of sun exposure and are a natural part of the aging process. When skin is exposed to UV rays it skin produces melanin as a way of protecting itself. This doesn’t always occur in a regular pattern so therefore uneven spots of hyperpigmentation can be formed.
Why People Choose to Remove Age Spots
Although skin spots can be harmless, they can be unsightly and contribute to the visual signs of aging. Studies have shown the heavily pigmented skins can be perceived as looking older than skins with lines and wrinkles. By removing these lesions the skin’s youthfulness can be restored which can dramatically reduce visual signs of aging.
Professional Treatments for Age Spots
At Clinica Lase we have several modalities that can effectively treat age spots. Lasers that target the pigment lesions are very effective as we can choose specific wavelengths to target the lesion depending on where in the skin it is. We also have IPL, chemical peels and fractional lasers which can also be very effective.
MicrodermabrasionMicrodermabrasion is an exfoliating treatment which uses an abrasive tip and suction to exfoliate the upper layers of the skin. This can help lighten age spots however it is unlikely to help remove the pigment spot completely. Usually a more advanced treatment such as laser or IPL would need to be used.
CryotherapyCryotherapy can be performed by a dermatologist to help remove age spots. The lesion is frozen off which can be effective but can also be uncomfortable and in some cases can leave scarring if it is too aggressive.
Chemical PeelsChemical peels are used to help improve or remove age spots. They work by exfoliating the upper layers of the epidermis which can help to lighten the lesion. Depending on the depth of the lesion and the peel it may or may not be effective and can take several treatments to get a good result. In the clinic we often combine chemicals with other modalities such as IPL and laser to get the best result.
IPL (intense pulsed light) is a treatment which uses light energy to target a particular chromophore in the skin. It can be used in the treatment of age spots when the chromophore for the device is pigment. The device can help to break down pigment which in most cases goes darker and flakes off the surface of the skin. Whilst this can be effective, patient selection is important as sometimes IPL can have adverse effects on conditions such as melasma or can cause hyperpigmentation on darker skin types. It also will only work on superficial pigment so therefore might not be effective with all lesions.
At-Home Care for Age Spots
Whilst in clinic treatments are usually the quickest and most effective options for treating age spots there are options for at home use that can also help fade pigment spots. Cosmeceutical skin care has been clinically proven to reduce age spots amongst other over the counter treatments.
Hydroquinone is often used to treat age spots. It acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor which is the enzyme that causes pigment formation. It works on superficial pigment by helping to lighten and reduce the formation however it is not a permanent removal and often the pigment comes back once treatment ceases.
If the pigmentation has been caused by inflammation then sometimes mild steroids might be used to help reduce the inflammation and therefore improve the pigmentation. On their own they are quite often not enough to fully treat lesions. They can also cause skin irritation once they have stopped being used so long term are not effective.
Retinoids can help treat age spots. When used regularly they will help regulate the skin by increasing cell turnover which can help lighten the pigment lesion. They will help lift the pigment through the skin which over time will lighten. They need to be used regularly which some skins cannot tolerate so are not always effective for everyone. At Clinica Lase we stock several forms of retinol serums which will suit a vast array of skins. If you would like a recommendation for one that would work for you then get in touch and we can have one of our clinicians recommend one for you.
Daily Skin Care Routine to Prevent and Reduce Age Spots
The best way to reduce age spots is to prevent them in the first place. By using a skin routine of suitable cosmeceutical grade homecare products along with SPF and protecting your skin physically from the sun with clothing or a hat this will be the most effective. Using tyrosinase inhibitors to reduce how active the pigment cells are, Vitamin C to protect from free radical damage, retinols to increase cell turnover and SPF to protect from the UV rays. These products combined with covering the skin from direct sun exposure will give the best possible chance of preventing the damage occurring in the first place.
Choose Clinica Lase for Age Spot Treatment
If age spots are something you are concerned with then get in touch. We have highly trained dermal clinicians who can assess your pigmentation, recommend you suitable treatments and a personalised homecare plan to follow to get the best results. We have access to the most advanced technologies when it comes to treating age spots in a safe and effective way. We will guide you through the whole process and explain it in a way that is easy to understand so you feel like you are well informed and in safe hands.