What Can Get Rid of My Sunspots?

What Can Get Rid of My Sunspots?

Even-toned and unblemished skin may be the beauty standard, but it rarely occurs in nature. Most skin shows its age and the wear-and-tear it’s endured over the years, including sun exposure. 

When the sun hits your skin and penetrates the deeper layers, it causes damage below the surface. You can’t see it at first, but it accumulates over time and eventually appears as small round or oval areas of darkened skin, commonly called sunspots. 

You may notice a few sunspots in your 40s, but by the time you reach your 50s, they tend to cover your hands, arms, legs, shoulders, and chest — all the places that get the most sun. The good news is that you don’t have to live the rest of your days covered in spots.

Kathy Kuehne, LE, our highly experienced licensed esthetician at Rick J. Smith, MD, helps people in East Lansing, Michigan, eliminate sunspots and achieve the even and smooth complexion they desire. Here are two evidence-based treatments we use to eliminate bothersome sunspots.

The science behind sunspots

As the name suggests, sunspots occur when you expose your skin to the sun. When the sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate your skin’s outer layer (the dermis), your body generates melanin to protect your cells. Melanin is the pigment that creates a tan, so what you may think is a “healthy glow” is actually your skin’s way of shielding itself from harm.

Years of accumulated sun exposure damage the cells that produce melanin and kick them into overdrive, resulting in pigmentation clumps, which we know as sunspots.

True sunspots aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can mimic early signs of skin cancer, so don’t ignore them. Monitor them regularly and seek medical attention if you notice a change in size, shape, color, or texture. 

How to eliminate sunspots

The internet is full of tips and home remedies to fade sunspots, but most are ineffective. Milk baths, apple cider vinegar, tea, and aloe may temporarily lighten your sunspots, but if you want to eliminate them completely and permanently, we recommend professional treatments.

Laser skin resurfacing

Topical treatments don’t work well on sunspots because they don’t get to the root of the problem. We often recommend laser skin resurfacing, a treatment that addresses sunspots from the inside out. We offer two variations depending on the type, size, location, and depth of your sunspots.

Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, an ablative treatment, gently lifts away the skin layers containing sunspots. It also removes other skin blemishes, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Although fractional CO2 laser resurfacing is noninvasive and painless, you may feel slight discomfort and swelling as your skin recovers.

Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) is another laser-based approach to eliminate sunspots. This treatment is gentler than the ablative laser and uses light energy to target the hyperpigmented cell clumps within your skin. The results are less dramatic than fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, but it requires no downtime. 

LED light therapy

You may remember studying light prisms in school, but you may have yet to explore the power of those individual wavelengths and colors. It turns out that each one offers unique skin benefits, and we’ve harnessed them in our LED light therapy.

Kathy Kuehne examines your skin and determines the best wavelength to address your unique skin needs. She also helps you navigate the often-confusing world of skin care products to keep your skin healthy and clear after sunspot treatment.

To learn more, contact us at Rick J. Smith, MD — call 517-225-2051 or request an appointment online. 

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