Patients always ask me in the Fall how they can best remove their sun damage and get rid of sun spots and pigmentation. There are several easy ways to do this. If patients are on any medications that are photosensitizing I start with having them stop those. Many people do not realize that their birth control pill or oral antibiotics is contributing to their pigmentation and sun damage. After going over a basic history and medication review we start by putting patients on the proper sunscreen (at least an SPF 50) and then start a basic pigmentation protocol.
Based on the type of skin – pigment type and sensitivity, I start a combination of hydroquinones, Retinols, or Retinoids to treat the skin topically. If the sun damage is all Melasma than my number one treatment is usually Cosmelan. Cosmelan is rich in retinoid acid and hydroquinones. The two step in office peel process is remarkable and after just 3 to 5 days of redness and peeling your skin is beautiful and the pigmentation reversed.
If your sun damage is from mostly sun spots and you have a lighter complexion then my go to procedure is Fraxel Dual. The Fraxel Dual with the 1927 pigmentation setting is uniquely designed to remove pigmentation and sun spots. Depending on the degree of sun damage this can be accomplished in one to three in office treatments spaced one month apart. The benefit of the Fraxel is that there is minimal down time and it has even been showed to treat Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancers) in a very elegant way.
Finally some patients prefer to have the Clear and Brilliant Laser performed. Clear & Brilliant is from the makers of the Fraxel laser and what we call a “mini-Fraxel” procedure. It will take 5 or 6 treatments of the Clear & Brilliant laser to have the results of the Fraxel treatment but there is absolutely no down time at all. Patients leave with no visible effects of any treatment and over the course of several months will have beautiful rejuvenated skin.
The Fall is the best time to plan your skin rejuvenation since there is little sun and it gives you the maximum time to have the treatments needed for either Cosmelan, Fraxel, or Clear and Brilliant.