Author Bio: Dr. Sanusi Umar MD is the author of this article.
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology recently discussed a review of clinical studies which evaluate different types of natural ingredients for the treatment of unwanted brown pigmentation. The authors conducted a search for scientific literature on this topic. Although they found very few clinical trial studies which support the efficacy of natural, plant-derived ingredients, they were able to source information which suggests the viability of certain ingredient types for depigmentation. These include soy, ascorbic acid iontophoresis, azelaic acid, lignin peroxidase, mulberry, niacinamide, licorice extracts, ellagic acid and arbutin.
Mechanisms of action include disrupting the production of pigment, oxidizing and breaking down melanin, inhibiting the transfer of melanin containing structures to the outer skin cells, known as keratinocytes. Some show a skin lightening effect comparable to hydroquinone.
While the authors concluded that these natural ingredients show promise in the treatment of unwanted brown pigmentation, the literature also provides insight into specific mechanisms within the skin which gives rise to these issues.
At the moment, natural treatments for brown spots still require further research. This not only includes finding answers on efficacy, but also concentrations and formulations. Patients must also be aware that the effects of topical treatments are very gradual, not instant.
Age Spot Removal Services Los Angeles:
It’s true that as we age, the skin changes. It loses elasticity and firmness and also begins to produce more melanin. Add sun exposure to that equation and you’ve got even more melanin (the skin’s natural sun block) being pumped out as additional skin protection. The overabundance of melanocyte cells ends up clustering together to form concentrated spots of tan or brown. These age spots, also known as brown spots, age marks, or dark liver spots, are actually caused by too much sun exposure and can occur in people under the age of forty—thus, age spots are really more like sun spots in many cases.
What Causes Age Spots?
We get our skin color from a pigment called melanin. Melanin is the pigment in the body that allows protection from UV rays. As we get older, so does our skin, and it’s ability to protect us from the sun’s rays weakens. If someone were to stay in the sun for long periods of time, the melanin will come out in spurts. This is our body’s way of protecting itself because our skin ages. The secretion of this is the result of age marks.
These sun spots form because of a build-up of basal cells that are aged — so it’s no surprise they are called “brown age spots” by some. Some cells can not be removed, like aged cells with lipofuscin can’t be removed. These cells will promote their neighboring cells to age and affect how local tissue will function. Through this process more and more cells begin to contain lipofuscin and become aged. They form irregular shapes and aggregate.
Types of Age Spots
There are different kinds of age spots that are very common. Though they often appear as brown spots on skin, they vary in type and appearance. If you have an age spot, it will probably fall into one of two categories:
Lentigines look similar to freckles due to their tan and flat appearance, typically appearing on sun-exposed areas of your skin. The range in size can vary greatly, but generally, these are anywhere from the size of a pencil eraser to a dime.
Unlike Lentigines, Seborrheic Keratoses can be both flat and raised and come in a range of colors in-between pale to black. Often they are confused with warts due to their appearance, so it’s important to consult with a dermatologist to properly classify the spot.
How to Get Rid of Age Spots: Age Spot Removal Methods
The melanin of the age spots lie beneath the skin’s surface. This is why topical treatments can be slow and ineffective.
Age Spot Removal: Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is a common topical cream to use that can assist with fading brown pigmentation. If it is bought over the counter, it usually has 2 percent strength. In order to get something higher in concentration, like 4 percent, a prescription is needed. This topical cream blocks tyrosinase, an enzyme that helps produce melanin. Organelles, also referred to as melanosomes, are broken down because of hydroquinone and are carried away by pigment cells known as melanocytes. The process is considered a slow one. The FDA enabled a three-month limit on continuous hydroquinone use because of its toxic risk.
Eliminating Age Spots on Skin with Lasers
Luckily, energy light from lasers has the ability to go below the skin’s surface to break down pigment. Once that pigment is broken down, what’s left over is carried out by the body. Dr. U Skin Clinic has advanced age spots treatment options like:
- Fraxel Repair
- Spectra laser
- Fraxel Dual
Dual Fraxel lasers can help get rid of pigmentation on the surface of the skin because it has multiple wavelengths modes: 1550nm, a longer one that reaches deep, and 1927nm.
Age Spot Removal: Fraxel Repair
Fraxel Repair is optional for people who want to get rid of their dark liver spots or age marks. This treatment should only be used for people with lighter skin complexions.
Age Spot Removal: Spectra Laser
Spectra has a wavelength of 1064 nm and is a Nd:YAG laser, and it is safe to use on people with any skin complexion. This kind of laser can also be good for pigmented lesions, an issue that is harder to address with other kinds of lasers.
If you have a question about age spot removal, do not hesitate to Ask Dr. U at no cost.
Before and After Age Spot Removal: Facial Age Spots with Fraxel Dual Treatment
After feeling self conscious about facial age spots, this patient sought help from Dr. U. Thanks to just one Fraxel Dual treatment, she was able to diminish brown spots and obtain a more youthful look.
Before and After Age Spot Removal: Facial Age Spots with Fraxel Dual and Spectra Laser
After a single treatment of Spectra and Fraxel Dual lasers, this patient was able to dimish facial brown spots.
Before and After Age Spot Removal: Mouth Age Spots
VIDEO: Age Spot Removal Service Results from Dr. U Skin Clinic Los Angeles
After many years in the sun, this patient had sun spots, wrinkles, poor skin texture and loss of her skin glow. Turning to Dr. U for age spots treatment, she first underwent Spectra laser treatment of the face and neck, followed by Fraxel Dual laser treatment one month later. After just four short weeks, the patient’s skin looks rejuvenated. The age spots on her skin have greatly diminished.
When asked what she noticed the most after treatment, she said, “I feel like I have a fresh look. Like my face looks smoother, the skin is more even and it looks more youthful.” During a fun trip to Vegas, she received a compliment from a young 25-year-old woman on how great her skin looked. “To have a stranger notice it is pretty incredible,” she added. After just a single treatment, the patient’s skin no longer needs makeup to create an even look. “I wear minimal makeup, mostly just mascara now.” When asked if she would do this again, her answer was a definite yes.
Preventing Age Spots
Because age spots tend to appear in the most unconventional places (areas with sun exposure), it’s often times an unsightly inconvenience on your skin. Getting sunspots is similar to getting wrinkles; they are a sign of aging you would rather not have. Treatment can be provided, but prevention is necessary to keep more dark liver spots from appearing. Protecting your chest, shoulders, hands, and face from sun exposure is key.
- Wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you got out.
- Avoid being in the sun for long periods of time especially during peak hours when the sun is at it’s highest. Having on protective clothing like sunglasses is also a good idea.
- Have window film that protects from UV rays while driving your car.
These spots are not harmful, but people can understandably want treatment to get rid of them. Some age spots do look similar to cancerous growths, so if you notice one that is weirdly shaped, itches, grows, or is tender, it’s best to get it checked out by your doctor. Continue to see your dermatologist annually to make sure everything is okay.
Seeking Sun Spot Treatment
The Office of Dr. U provides offers age spot removal with fantastic results. Fine Touch Dermatology offers free initial consultations for patients in the greater Los Angeles area who are interested in age spot removal. To get started, fill out our consultation form or call us at 1800-499-DRUCLINIC (3782) to schedule an appointment.
Age Spot Removal FAQ
Are the lasers for age spot removal safe to use on all areas of the body?
The age spot removal laser is able to safely treat the parts of the body that get exposed to the sun like the face, shoulder, arms, chest and the neck. However, some lasers are not suitable for treating areas outside of the face. You must visit a certified dermatologist who is very knowledgeable in laser skin treatments, who understands the guiding principles that determine the correct type of laser to be used effectively and safely for your skin type, body location as well as the optimal treatment settings. Dr. U is such a doctor who is able to select the best laser and treatment settings for your skin type, age spot as well as body area affected.
Will more age spots appear after the procedure?
New age spots can form if you don’t protect your skin from sun exposure, but the same ones will typically not return.
How many laser treatments are necessary for complete age spot removal?
Typically, you won’t need more than one or two laser treatment sessions. If you do have a severe case where the pigmentation covers a large area, more treatments may be necessary.
If I have ethnic skin and age spots, which age spot treatment is best for me?
If your skin complexion is darker you can have laser treatment with longer wavelengths. The wavelengths should be 1060 nm, 1550 nm, or 1927 nm. The longer wavelengths are better because they don’t scatter as much. The melanin surrounding the age spots are not likely to absorbs the energy forms, which decreases the risk of the skin overheating.
How can I remove age spots naturally?
Apple cider vinegar is a great natural option for age spot treatment. Because it contains natural alpha hydroxy acid, it is known for helping to lighten age and sun spots. It is recommended that you combine apple cider vinegar with olive oil o that you can combat any acidity and protect the skin from dryness. Apply it onto the skin every day, leaving it on for 20 minutes. Viola!
I’m wondering how to get rid of brown spots on my hands; what is the quickest method of treatment?
While lasers are usually the fastest brown spot removal method, consult with your doctor to see which treatment option is best for your needs.
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