Wear sunscreen. “Sunspots” (gasp!), “age spots”, or even worse, “liver spots” are flat, non-raised, brown spots or freckles that develop on the skin after prolonged exposure to direct ultraviolet (or UV) rays. In med-speak, they’re called “solar lentigines”. Contrary to the common-speak, people of all ages are susceptible to these spots, and those with lighter skin tend to develop them more frequently. The most common areas to develop brown spots are those exposed to the sun most often, the face, chest, and hands.
How to Banish Brown Spots
The good news is that there is a fairly simple and relatively painless way to banish these brown spots. Summertime, when most people have their greatest sun exposure, is usually the time that we accumulate these brown spots, so I generally recommend that people wait until the fall (right around now) for removal. There are various topical treatment that have been recommended for these pigmented spots, but the quickest and most effective treatment is BBL (broadband light) treatment. BBL is FDA cleared for the treatment of benign pigmented lesions, among other conditions.
The light energy delivered by the BBL will be absorbed by the unwanted melanin responsible for pigmented lesions in the upper layers of the skin. Over the next few days to two weeks, the pigmented lesions will darken and fall off. Typically, three sessions, spaced two weeks apart are required for most effective removal of brown spots. The procedure takes about 15-20 minutes, and feels like the snapping of a rubber band on the skin. Most patients only find the treatment mildly uncomfortable. BBL treatment for brown spots requires no real downtime. There is occasionally slight redness of the skin, but when this occurs, it generally subsides in the few hours following your treatment. You can use moisturizer or cover-up on the face immediately following the procedure.
An added bonus of the treatment is that as the light energy of the BBL gently heats the upper layers of your skin, it stimulates your skin cells to regenerate new collagen, leading to increased skin firmness, smoother skin texture, and a more even color to your skin surface. Most patients can notice positive changes even after their very first session, though the results are cumulative. In my office, I offer a BBL treatment called “Forever Young BBL”, which is a special type of BBL treatment that can help you greatly improve your skin appearance and health. In fact, scientific evidence from a long-term Stanford University study demonstrates regular maintenance treatments using Forever Young BBL functionally rejuvenates skin and delays skin aging. Studies include patients treated 10+ years ago.
What Are Your Brown Spots Telling You?
Brown spots from the sun, or solar lentigines, are benign, but they do indicate excessive sun exposure, a risk factor for the development of skin cancers. Additionally, they will return with repeated sun exposure. So, ladies and gentlemen, wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, visit Dr. Liotta’s website or call (212) 288-2222.