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Best Treatment for Age Spots

When it comes to aging on our skin, the appearance of age spots can often make us feel very self-conscious. Age spots are referred to as liver spots, sunspots, senile lentigos and solar lentigines. These dark spots develop on parts of the skin which have had too much sun exposure, such as on the face, hands, arms and chest. As we age, age spots become darker, more prominent, and more numerous. Age spots are more common in adults, above the age of 50, but they can start to appear in younger people, as young as twenty, who have spent a lot of time in the sun, particularly without proper sunscreen.

Though age spots can be a signifier of aging skin and sun damage, there are thankfully many  excellent treatments in the arsenal of dermatology which can help lighten and remove age spots on the skin. NYC cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Michele Green, is an expert in sun spot, age spot removal, and anti-aging skincare. Dr. Green is an internationally renowned specialist in non-invasive cosmetic dermatology treatments, such as Botox, Kybella, and Juvederm injections, Thermage for skin lightening, IPL, microneedling, CoolSculpting, and cosmetic laser skin treatments. Dr. Green will work with you to improve both the look and feel of your skin and remove those unwanted age spots. Contact the office today to develop your very own personalized skin rejuvenation plan.

What are age spots?

Age spots are small, dark spots on the skin that vary in size from freckle-size to about 1/2 inch in diameter. Though doctors don’t always know exactly why age spots develop, they are often sparked by sun exposure or other forms of ultraviolet light exposure, such as tanning beds. Ultraviolet (UV) light can accelerate the production of melanin in the skin, which is a naturally occurring pigment that gives skin its color. Age spots are often caused by overactive melanin cells, where the pigment becomes concentrated on the surface of the skin.

Age spots can often look similar to skin cancer spots, but they are in fact harmless. These dark spots range from tan to dark brown, and they can often group together on areas where sun exposure is common. If any spots or lesions on the skin change in either size or color, this is an indication that the spot could be cancerous. In this case, you should consult a board certified dermatologist, like Dr. Michele Green in NYC, immediately. Dr. Green will be able to quickly determine if the dark spot is potentially cancerous, and can help you to develop a treatment plan that prioritizes your health and well-being.

Are age spots raised?

Age spots are typically flat, oval areas on the skin that have a darker pigmentation than the rest of your skin. A raised, dark spot is typically a Seborrheic Keratosis, which can also develop due to aging and sun damage, but appears more similar to a mole or wart. These raised spots are generally benign and not can be also removed for cosmetic reasons. If any dark spot changes in size or shape, it could be potentially cancerous, and Dr. Green can do a biopsy to determine if the spot is a skin cancer. Typically dark, or changing moles may be the first presentation of melanoma, malignant lentigo, or another form of skin cancer.

How to get rid of age spots (liver spots)

Liver spots and similar skin discoloration can be lightened and eliminated through a variety of treatment options. These treatments include cryotherapy or “freezing” of the age spot cells in order to remove them, laser treatments, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, Cosmelan, Mesopeels, and topical lightening creams and lotions. As age spots occur at the base of the top layer of skin (epidermis), the most effective treatments will be able to penetrate this top layer to break down the concentration of melanin cells (melanocytes). This penetration through the top layer of the dermis can also help to boost the amount of collagen in the skin, which can in turn create new skin cells that restore the skin’s youthful appearance. Though there are also over-the-counter creams available that are designed to treat or lighten the appearance of brown spots on the skin through spot treatments, the most effective way to reduce the appearance of or eliminate age spots is through a dermatologist recommended treatment plan.

IMAGE02 45 54 year old woman treated with age spots treatment MGwatermark

45-54 year old woman treated for age spots

How to get rid of age spots on face?

The most common question our patients ask is to “how to remove age spots on the face”. Typically, the first recommended treatment is a prescribed topical medication from your dermatologist. Go-to active ingredients for prescription topical cream include retinoids (tretinoin) and hydroquinone, which is a bleaching age that can interrupt melanin formation. Hydroquinone comes in different percentages (2%5%, or 8%), and Dr. Green will determine the best concentration based on your skin type.

Dr. Green’s innovative skin care line, MGSKINLABs, offers a line of prescription-based skin bleaching creams that can be used for spot treatment of age spots, brown spots or discoloration on the skin. Her line of skin lightening creams is designed to treat small areas of discoloration on the skin with a powerful hydroquinone formulation. When applying any topical prescription, Dr. Green encourages using a daily moisturizer and SPF sunscreen in order to reduce mild side effects such as irritation and redness.

Cryotherapy

For those who are dealing with small areas of pigmented skin or discoloration, cryotherapy can be an excellent option. Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen which is applied to age spots using a cotton-tipped swab to eliminate the darker pigment. After treatment, the skin will temporarily darken in the “frozen” treatment area, and then this scab will slough off, showing healthy, new skin underneath.

Chemical Peels

One reliable skin rejuvenation technique for age spots on the face is that of a chemical peel. Chemical peels are tailor-made treatments that can help with a variety of signs of aging and skin conditions, including age spots and hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels are a skin resurfacing procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the face to remove the top layers of skin cells, which can help to remove the superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis, and remove age spots and leave a healthy, fresh new layer of skin. Chemical peels are entirely customizable in terms of treatment depth and and strength, ranging from deep phenol peels to superficial glycolic acid peels. After a chemical peel, it’s vital that a patient avoid sun exposure as much as possible in order to prevent any irritation to the newly exposed layers of skin.

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Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a simple non-invasive procedure that uses a fine abrasive tip or crystal to remove the outer layer of dead skin. This treatment can help to remove darker pigment from the surface of the skin by removing the epidermis layer, which in turn evens out skin tone. It’s an excellent option for those dealing with sun-damaged skin, age spots, acne scars, or skin discoloration. Additionally, microdermabrasion can be applied beyond the face to the neck and chest in order to blend the skin and reduce any additional sun damage. This procedure is safe for all skin types, and requires no downtime, though patients should plan on keeping a strong sunscreen regimen post-treatment.

Hydrafacials

The Hydrafacial is a medical-grade hydradermabrasion treatment that is designed to reduce the signs of aging and create all-over facial rejuvenation. The treatment has a three-step process of cleansing, exfoliating, and infusing skin with intensive serums. The process can also be combined with a chemical peel, or as well as with unique anti-aging serums such as Britenal for dark spots, Dermabuilder for collagen production, and Connective Tissue Growth Factor to help create healthy new skin.

Laser Treatments for Age Spots

One of the most popular non-invasive procedures for liver spots on the face and body is that of laser treatment or light therapy. There are a variety of laser treatments that are highly effective in eliminating age spots on the skin.

Candela Alex-trivantage

The Candela Alex-trivantage laser treatment is able to remove individual age spots in as little as 1-2 sessions. Each spot is targeted by the laser, which then causes the spot to turn white. After treatment, a scab will form and then heal, removing the discoloration from the skin. This is an excellent non-invasive option for spot treatment on the skin.

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Fraxel laser treatment

The Fraxel Dual laser is an excellent option for those who are invested in treating a larger area on the body, such as the face, décolletage, upper back, arms or legs. The Fraxel laser is designed to treat sun damage as well as fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars, which leads to all-over skin rejuvenation. The Fraxel laser is equipped with two wavelengths, the 1927 which treats primary pigmentation and sun spots (age spots), and the 1550 wavelength which treats primary wrinkles, stretch marks, and acne scars. Dr. Green calls the Fraxel laser the “magic eraser,” as it is able to reverse sun spots and the visible signs of aging. Most patients will need 2-3 treatment sessions, spaced one month apart, for the best cosmetic results.

Clear + Brilliant Laser

The Clear + Brilliant treatment is called the “mini-Fraxel laser” and is designed to target pores, fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, and overall pigmentation. This laser treatment is a good fit for patients with all skin types, and there’s absolutely zero downtime required after the procedure. Many patients prefer the Clear and Brilliant laser since they can have this treatment done with no recovery time, and see gradual improvement in skin texture, tone, and sun spots. Since the Clear + Brilliant laser is a “color blind” laser, many Asian, Hispanic, and African American patients who are unable to have the Fraxel laser performed, are candidates for this laser treatment for overall skin rejuvenation.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense Pulsed Light therapy (IPL), sometimes referred to as a “photo facial” or “Forever Young BBL”, is a non-invasive treatment that improves the tone and texture of a patient’s skin without the need for significant downtime or recovery. It’s a technology that uses different wavelengths of light to smooth the skin and reduce the appearance of discoloration, brown spots, sun damage, and other signs of aging on the skin. IPL is unique in that its treatment reaches deep into the dermal layer of the skin, targeting and eliminating pigment cells that are disrupting the evenness of a patient’s skin tone. It’s safe to use on the face, chest, neck and body, and the treatment takes around 15-30 minutes in total.

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How to get rid of age spots on hands

The majority of treatments that are effective at eliminating age spots on the face are also excellent in treating dark spots on the hands. In particular, MGSKINLABs topical treatments and laser treatments such as the Candela Alex-trivantage can eliminate the appearance of age spots both quickly and easily. Combining these treatments with the Fraxel laser will reverse the  effects of sun damage and age spots on your hands.

How to get rid of age spots on legs

For age spots on the legs, Dr. Green usually recommends the Candela Alex-trivantage laser and/or the Fraxel laser for treatment of a wider area of discoloration or dark spots on the skin. The Fraxel laser will give an overall skin rejuvenation to your legs and the Alex-trivantage will remove darker, discreet age spots, to give you beautiful, even skin.

Health and wellness:  how to prevent age spots

Ultimately, the best way to reduce the appearance of age spots is to prevent them from developing entirely. As sun damage and excessive UV exposure is the leading cause of dark spots on the skin, Dr. Green recommends that each of her patients apply a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF in order to protect the skin from sunburn and other sun-damage from the sun’s rays. In order to maximize sun protection, patients can also ensure a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) within their clothing–ideally fabrics should have a UPF of 40 to 50 to be considered protective clothing.

When do age spots appear?

Age spots are considered common in patients age 50 or older, but also often appear as small spots in patients as young as 20. Younger people are less likely to exhibit age spots or sunspots unless they are overexposed to UV light, typically via sunburns or the use of tanning beds. They are most common in people with fairer skin types, and can often be prevented by a good sun protection regiment, such as the daily use of sunscreen.

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AlexTrivantage for sunspots, male patient

Can a dermatologist remove age spots?

A dermatologist should be your first destination when it comes to safe, effective, and fast removal of age spots. Over-the-counter topical creams and lotions, as well as home remedies, can be used to treat age spots, but a dermatologist can make sure that the treatment you’re receiving is the most effective option for you specifically. Further, a dermatologist or healthcare provider will be able to examine any dark spot on the skin to determine if there are any medical concerns with a particular lesion or mark. Dr. Green is an expert in age spots and anti-aging treatments, and the health and satisfaction of her patients is her top priority.

Home remedies to remove age spots

There are a few choice home remedies that can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin. A common topical home remedy is the use of Aloe Vera gel on the age spots for 30 minutes twice daily. Additionally, apple cider vinegar can be combined with water to act as a spot treatment. Lemon juice also has bleaching properties which can be applied directly to the age spot. However, these treatments are not anywhere near optimal for removal of age spots on the skin.

When it comes to over-the-counter age spot treatment, it’s best to look for creams that have useful active ingredients like hydroquinone, glycolic acid or kojic acid. These active ingredients are proven effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots over time.

How to remove age spots with hydrogen peroxide

Another home remedy that is slightly more effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots on the skin is the use of hydrogen peroxide. It can be combined in a 1:1 ratio with milk, and then applied via a cotton-tipped applicator on the age spot itself. After 15 minutes, this topical treatment should be rinsed off completely and then a moisturizer should be applied. However, this treatment can yield inconsistent results. As with any home remedy, it’s highly recommended that you consult an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, before you apply or experiment with any at-home topical treatments.

Will Flourouracil remove age spots?

Flourouracil is a chemotherapy medication that can be used topically to reduce the appearance of pre-cancerous patches on the skin, from sun damage. Dr. Green uses Flourouracil or 5-FU to treat actinic keratoses lesions. These lesions are typically red and scaly, and not pigmented like sun spots or age spots. Another method that Dr. Green uses for these pre-cancerous lesions is the Blue Light, which will clear up entire fields of sun damage or pre-cancerous skin.

How to remove age spots naturally

The best way to remove age spots naturally is through the use of targeted treatments that can take advantage of the skin’s natural regenerative processes. Treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser treatments are all able to remove sun damage and age spots, leaving new, healthy skin in its place.

How do I remove age spots today?

If you’re frustrated by the appearance of age spots on the skin, Dr. Green is here to help. An expert in cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Green has over 25 years of experience in anti-aging procedures and skin care, and will advise you of the the best treatment options for you. Contact us online today or call our office at 212-535-3088 to learn more about age spot treatment and skin rejuvenation at the New York office of Dr. Michele Green.

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