Throughout our lives, we are frequently overexposed to the sun’s rays. Going outside without protective layers of clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, or sunscreen can leave our skin exposed to UV radiation, which, over time, can cause dark spots to form on our skin. Sunspots are very common and completely harmless. However, having these signs of aging visible on our bodies can feel distressing. Luckily, many dermatological treatments are available to permanently eliminate sunspots, including laser treatments, intense pulsed light, chemical peels, etc. When navigating the treatment options, it is best to make an appointment with a specialist in cosmetic dermatology, such as Dr. Michele Green in NYC, who can help develop the best treatment plan that suits your specific concerns and aesthetic goals.
Sunspots, also known as age spots, are flat, brown spots that form on the parts of the body that are most frequently hit by direct sunlight, including the face, shoulders, arms, and hands. Repeated ultraviolet light exposure stimulates pigment cells to increase melanin production, which causes increased skin pigmentation and sunspot formation. While increased melanin production is a protective measure to prevent our skin from burning, it has the unfortunate side effect of creating new sunspots, brown spots, and dark spots on the face and body.
Dr. Green is an expert in treating sunspots, discoloration, and other hyperpigmentation disorders in her private NYC Upper East Side office. A board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Green is uniquely skilled at removing sunspots and facial pigmentation and is always on the cutting edge of safe and effective treatments. If you are tired of facial or body discoloration, sunspots, or age spots, Dr. Green is here to help remove these unwanted dark spots and help protect your skin from future hyperpigmentation. Dr. Green will help you achieve and maintain even, beautiful, clear skin by creating a customized treatment plan and incorporating the best treatments, skincare, and broad-spectrum sunscreen.
What are sunspots?
As we age, the effects of frequent unprotected sun exposure begin to show on our skin in the form of sunspots. Sunspots are characterized by flat, brown spots that vary in size and shape and develop most frequently on the face, shoulders, arms, and hands. The term sunspot has become synonymous with other terms such as age spots and liver spots, though these spots that appear have nothing to do with the liver. Sunspots are extremely common but tend to affect people over the age of 40 more frequently. Sun spots or age spots are due entirely to the degree of sun damage you have sustained during your life and your genetic predisposition to producing these dark spots. Increased sun exposure increases the number of sunspots and depth of pigmentation. Sunspots are harmless, but unlike freckles, they do not fade over time and can only be eliminated through a dermatologic treatment, such as chemical peels or lasers.
What do sunspots look like on your skin?
Sunspots are flat areas of skin discoloration that can be light tan, brown, or varying shades in between. Sunspots do not have any texture and can appear on any part of your body which has been exposed to the sun, including your face, neck, décolletage, shoulders, back, legs, and the top of your hands. Other terms for sunspots include liver spots and solar lentigines.
Why do sunspots occur?
In childhood, repeated sun exposure leads to freckles in sun-exposed areas. Over time, as we age and are exposed to more sun, these freckles tend to coalesce and get darker and more prominent, resulting in sunspots. These sunspots get deeper over time on your face, chest, neck, back, legs, and hands. In fact, sunspots on the hands are among the first visible signs of aging for many patients.
How do sunspots form on the skin?
Sunspots form due to intense or accumulated exposure to UV rays from the sun. These UV rays are absorbed into our skin and cause the melanocytes in that area to multiply. Melanocytes are the pigmented skin cells responsible for the production and transfer of melanin, which is the chemical in our bodies that gives our skin pigmentation. Through repeated exposure to the sun, the melanin in the skin comes together to create a dark spot on the skin. The purpose of melanin in the body is to absorb UV rays and protect the DNA in our skin. Thus, sunspots occur on the body to protect us. However, the discoloration on the skin can be a distressing sign of aging.
When is it time to consult a dermatologist to evaluate your sunspots?
Spots that appear on our bodies as we age can be alarming, as the development of spots on our skin can be an early sign of skin cancer. Therefore, it is very important to have spots evaluated by a dermatologist when you notice them developing on your body. Skin cancer is very common – 1 in 5 Americans is likely to develop skin cancer before they are 70, according to research released by the Skin Cancer Foundation. However, not all spots that develop over time are precancerous. In fact, sunspots are not dangerous at all and need only be removed for cosmetic reasons. When you discover a spot, it can be challenging to tell the difference. Some signs of cancerous growth are as follows:
- Dark spots or moles that are new, growing, or changing
- Dark spots or moles with irregular borders or asymmetry
Cancerous spots can develop due to harmful UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. Suppose you are uncertain about a spot on your body. In that case, seeing a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green, is always advisable to determine if the lesion is a harmless sunspot or abnormal cancerous growth.
AlexTrivantage laser and Fraxel before and after
Can sunspots be removed?
Patients often ask if sun spots can be removed from the body, and the answer is yes! There are many treatment options that can be found at board-certified dermatologist Dr. Green’s office, including laser treatments, chemical peels, intense pulsed light, and much more. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will help to determine the treatment or series of treatments that will be best to erase the appearance of sun spots on your skin. The treatments can also work on various treatment areas, including the face, neck, scalp, hands, arms, legs, back, chest, and décolletage. An expert like Dr. Green can remove sunspots in virtually any area of the body.
How to remove sunspots on your skin
There are many techniques for removing sunspots, from over-the-counter creams containing hydroquinones, Vitamin C, and retinol to laser treatments, chemical peels, and Cosmelan peels. Dr. Michele Green is an expert in sunspot removal and uses a combination of treatments to remove sunspots based on the distribution of your sunspots and skin tone. Patients with Fitzpatrick type I and II skin types are generally treated with different lasers and methods than patients with darker type III through type V skin. Choosing the right laser, based on skin tone and condition, is fundamental to having the best cosmetic results. The following describes the skin treatments Dr. Green offers at her private dermatology office in Manhattan’s Upper East Side neighborhood to remove sunspots. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, the two of you will work together to determine the best treatment option or combination of treatments that will work for you.
Candela Alex-Trivantage laser to treat sun spots
In her NYC dermatology Office, Dr. Green employs several different types of lasers to treat sunspots depending on the severity and location of the discoloration, as well as the skin type of the patient. One such laser that Dr. Green uses is the Candela Alex-Trivantage Laser, which is a Yag laser for treating discreet sun spots. The laser works by emitting wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the pigment in the dark spots on the skin. These melanin-rich lesions transform the light energy into heat, which eliminates the pigmentation and stimulates the production of new, lighter, healthier skin cells. The laser specifically targets the pigmentation in the skin, meaning that the skin tissue surrounding the sunspot is unaffected by the laser treatment. When you have your initial consultation for skin rejuvenation with Dr. Green, she can determine the number of treatments necessary based on the darkness and size of the treatment area. Patients typically need between one and two treatments to produce the best results. The Candela Alex-Trivantage laser treatment results can be seen in one to two weeks following the procedure. The number of treatment sessions required to achieve desired results may depend on the severity of the pigmentation.
Fraxel laser to remove sun spots
Fraxel laser was the first FDA-approved fractionated laser to treat sun damage, sun spots, texture, stretch marks, actinic keratoses, acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. The Fraxel® laser works by resurfacing a “fraction” of the skin, leaving the remaining skin unaffected to minimize the downtime, making healing faster, and still delivering amazing results. Fraxel laser creates “micro-injuries” on the skin, which triggers new collagen formation and healthy new skin cells. Dr. Green has coined the phrase “magic eraser” to explain how the Fraxel laser can remove unwanted pigmentation and sunspots and leave your skin clear and even.
The Fraxel Dual operates on two wavelengths of light, the 1927 nm, which treats predominantly pigmentation, and the 1550 nm, which treats fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. A combination of the two settings can be utilized to treat both conditions simultaneously, reducing sun spots and wrinkles and improving skin texture, all with only a few days of recovery. Several sessions of Fraxel should be scheduled to remove sun damage and give you the best cosmetic results. Dr. Green recommends scheduling three treatment sessions for the ultimate treatment, each spaced a month apart. The Fraxel laser is best used to treat lighter skin tones. Patients with darker skin tones who are looking for laser treatment can look to the Clear + Brilliant Laser, which Dr. Green also uses in her office.
42 year old female before and after sun spot treatment with AlexTrivantage laser
Clear + Brilliant Laser for sun spots
Clear + Brilliant laser is commonly called a “mini-Fraxel” laser. Clear + Brilliant is a gentle laser resurfacing treatment that was FDA approved in 2011. By using fractionated laser technology, Clear + Brilliant creates millions of microscopic treatment zones in the face, stimulates new collagen production, removes dead skin cells, and produces new healthy skin. Five treatments are best for overall improvement. There is zero downtime with the Clear + Brilliant laser, and the result is total facial rejuvenation, with the generation of new, healthy younger, looking skin cells. Clear + Brilliant treats all over sun damage, sunspots, uneven skin tone, irregular skin texture, fine lines, and enlarged pore size. Patients of all skin tones, including darker complexions, can benefit from Clear + Brilliant laser treatment. Immediate improvement is noted after just one laser treatment, with continued improvement with each subsequent Clear + Brilliant laser treatment.
Cosmelan peels to treat sun damage and sun spots
Cosmelan is a type of professional-grade chemical peel treatment option available in the office of Dr. Michele Green, which contains a proprietary combination of active ingredients to produce extremely effective skin-lightening results. The applied Cosmelan Peel mask works by multiple mechanisms to dispel the pigmentation in the affected areas and prevent further accumulation of melanin. This specialized chemical peel triggers the production of new skin cells, which eliminates dark spots on the skin and inhibits melanin from moving to the epidermis from the melanocyte, where it is created.
When patients arrive at Dr. Green’s office for treatment, she will apply the Cosmelan Peel to the affected area of the skin. Dr. Green will determine the amount of time the mask must be worn depending on the severity of the melasma, pigmentation, or dark spots and the location of the sunspots. Patients will then remove the mask at home with a gentle cleanser. Following the treatment, Dr. Green may prescribe a skincare routine with creams from her MGSKINLABs, enhancing the treatment results and protecting your skin from further skin pigmentation. Creams may include active ingredients such as Kojic acid, azelaic acid, hydroquinone, and hydra-vital factor K. Dr. Green also recommends strict sun avoidance following the treatment to avoid any further damage by the UV light in the sun’s rays. If you must be out in the sun, Dr. Green recommends a combination of chemical and physical sunscreens for the best protection. The pigmentation elimination effects of the treatment last forever as long as you avoid further exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays and always wear sunscreen or protective clothing, including sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
Chemical Peels to remove sunspots
Chemical peels are a treatment option for sunspots, which involves resurfacing the skin by applying a chemical solution to exfoliate the treatment area and remove the top layers of dead skin. The treatment effectively removes dead skin cells, triggers new, lighter skin cells, and unclogs the pores. Dr. Green employs a variety of proprietary chemical peels, which contain glycolic acid and trichloroacetic acid, for the best results at eliminating sun spots. Chemical peels can have different strengths, including mild, medium, and deep chemical ones. Mild and moderate chemical peels are best to address sunspots to dispel melanin-rich lesions. Since a chemical peel is a controlled injury to exfoliate the skin and stimulate the production of new skin, the side effects of the peel can include redness and flaking. These side effects generally resolve in a few days after the peel. Dr. Green may also prescribe moisturizers or other topical creams from her proprietary line of skincare products, MGSKINLABs, Inc., to address this dryness. As with any sunspot treatment, wearing sunscreen following the procedure and maintaining strict sun avoidance to maintain the best cosmetic results is essential.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for pigmentation and sun damage
The Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser treatment, or photo facial, reduces unwanted pigmentation, facial redness, fine lines, and skin laxity to improve the overall color and texture of the skin. Intense Pulsed Light differs from laser resurfacing in that while lasers typically use a single wavelength of light, IPL lasers use several different wavelengths of light to treat various skin conditions. IPL treatment works by applying the IPL device to the skin that emits a flash of light, which travels to the dermal layer of the skin to dispel the pigmentation cells that makeup sunspots. This occurs because melanin-rich cells absorb the light, which is then turned into heat energy. The heat energy destroys the pigmentation, consequently lightening the skin.
The photo facial procedure is quick and effective, with minimal discomfort and no downtime. Patients generally report that the IPL treatment feels like a lightly snapped rubber band on their skin. As such, most patients do not use a numbing cream to prepare for treatment, though patients with sensitive skin can request a topical numbing cream for even greater comfort during the procedure. There is no downtime or recovery necessary following the procedure. However, Dr. Green recommends that you continue to avoid sun exposure as much as possible and wear sunscreen and protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, whenever you are outdoors.
MGKINLABs Skin Care Products
Founded by expert, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green, MGSKINLABs Inc. has the best skin-lightening creams and lotions to treat sunspots. Dr. Green has created a specific pigment protocol regiment for her patients with the safest, most effective topical creams, moisturizers, and cleansers. When you consult with Dr. Green on the best treatment plan to address your sunspots, she will recommend specific products combined with creams, serums, skin-lightening creams, and sunscreens from her MGSKINLABs line of products to suit your unique needs best. Each product is tried and true to effectively eliminate pigmentation and generate healthy, smooth, and bright skin.
First, Dr. Green recommends the use of a gentle cleanser. Skin lightening creams can irritate the skin, so Dr. Green recommends a mild lipid-free cleanser, which will clean your skin without drying it or producing further irritation. Rich moisturizers and hyaluronic acid serum are part of maintaining the proper skin balance and texture. Dr. Green may also recommend a topical retinol cream to help remove the discoloration and sunspots. Retinol cream is essential for skin rehabilitation, exfoliating the skin, eliminating dead skin cells, and stimulating collagen production and healthy new skin. This new collagen production results in rejuvenated, brightened, pigment-free skin.
Dr. Green may prescribe a hydroquinone or hydroquinone-free skin brightening cream and retinol. Hydroquinone is a topical skin-lightening agent which blocks the production of melanin and reduces melanin’s movement to the dermis. Hydroquinone should be applied only under the direct supervision of a board-certified dermatologist, like Dr. Green, for optimal results. In conjunction with these creams, Dr. Green’s Vita C serum works to decrease unwanted discoloration of your skin, rejuvenates, and decreases unwanted redness as well.
The final, most crucial part of the pigment protocol to reduce sunspots and other forms of unwanted skin pigmentation is sunscreen. Dr. Green offers both chemical and physical sunscreen at MGSKINLABs Inc. When going through sunspot treatment, Dr. Green recommends doubling up on sunscreen to use both chemical and physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen is absorbed into the skin and absorbs UV rays to protect you from harm, whereas physical sunscreen sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays.
Mesopeels for pigmentation under the eyes and body
Mesopeels are a type of chemical peel available at Dr. Green’s office specifically designed to treat more sensitive areas of the skin. The four critical active ingredients – 20% Azelaic, 10% Resorcinol, 6% Phytic, and 3% Tranexamic Acid – work together to gently exfoliate the skin and stimulate the production of new collagen. The exfoliation eliminates the pigmented cells, while the stimulation of collagen production triggers the growth of smoother, lighter, and brighter skin cells. There are two types of Mesopeels, one for hyperpigmentation around the axillae, groin, and buttocks. The other type of Mesopeel, Mesopeel Periocular, is specifically designed to lighten the dark under-eye circles.
The Mesopeels are applied at Dr. Green’s office and will then be removed with a special neutralizing solution. Depending on the area of the face or the body where the Mesopeel is applied, the solution is applied for anywhere from one to ten minutes. Mesopeels are best used to treat sensitive areas with no discomfort or recovery time. A series of Mesopeels should be scheduled every two to three weeks, with the full cosmetic results evident after six peels. It is important for patients to avoid significant sun exposure by wearing chemical and physical sunscreens, clothing that covers the skin (like a wide-brimmed hat), or staying indoors between 10 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its peak.
Hydroquinone-free lightening creams
Creams that contain hydroquinone are often considered the gold standard for skin lightening. However, a risk factor of this powerful treatment is skin irritation and redness in patients with sensitive skin types. Because of this sensitivity, Dr. Green often recommends creams and serums that contain tranexamic acid rather than hydroquinone. Tranexamic acid blocks the movement of melanin from the melanocytes, where it is created, to the dermis. This movement of melanin is responsible for sunspots and other pigmentation in the skin. As a result, creams containing tranexamic acid rather than hydroquinone are still very effective in preventing sunspots and pigmentation when regularly applied. If you are unsure which lightening cream is best for you, Dr. Green will recommend the treatment plan that will be best for you during your initial consultation.
Microdermabrasion for discoloration
Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment option available at Dr. Green’s NYC dermatology office. Microdermabrasion works by gently removing the outermost epidermal layer of the skin to even out texture and eliminates discoloration and fine lines. The procedure exfoliates the skin using aluminum oxide crystals, which removes dead skin cells and promotes the production of new, lighter skin cells in the treatment area. Results of the procedure are best achieved after several treatment sessions, each spaced about a month apart. Dr. Green will determine the treatment schedule that is best for you after considering the scope of the treatment area and the severity of your hyperpigmentation.
55-64 year old woman treated with Cosmelan & Chemical Peels
HydraFacials for skin brightening
HydraFacials are a three-step, medical-grade facial often paired with boosters (specialized serums) to remove facial pigmentation, acne, and facial redness. The HydraFacial, performed at Dr. Green’s office, begins with the cleansing phase, entailing the removal of dead skin cells from the skin’s surface while simultaneously hydrating the skin. Once the skin has been cleansed, the second step in the process is exfoliation. The exfoliating step is often compared to microdermabrasion, though the processes differ in their exfoliating technique. During a HydraFacial, the skin is exfoliated with a vortex suction machine with a specially designed tip to remove dead skin cells and dirt. Finally, step three involves rejuvenating the skin with serums and moisturizers. Dr. Green employs custom-designed skincare treatments to revitalize the skin and leave you with a young, fresh face free of pigmentation.
Microneedling with skin depigmentation solution
Microneedling, or collagen induction therapy, is an excellent skin rejuvenating treatment option that can be paired and enhanced with skin-lightening serums or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). The process of microneedling treatment entails the creation of micro-injuries in the epidermal layer of the skin with a handheld device containing insulated surgical-grade needles. The pricks of the needles trigger the body’s healing response, which produces collagen and new skin cells. This stimulation of the production of new collagen in the skin helps to decrease the appearance of sun spots, improve skin texture, and treat acne scars by piercing the melanin-rich lesions, the micro-wounds are created to eliminate the pigmented skin cells and promote the production of new, lighter skin cells.
For patients most concerned with addressing hyperpigmentation, whether it be in the form of melasma, sun spots, or pigmented acne scars, incorporating a depigmenting serum into your microneedling treatment provides exceptional results. The depigmenting serum that is utilized during treatment is a unique blend of effective yet gentle skin-brightening agents that work against melanocytes in the skin (the skin cells responsible for creating pigment). The result is an even-toned complexion with an observable reduction in hyperpigmentation. Patients enjoy that after their microneedling treatment with depigmenting serum, their skin is more radiant, their skin tone is more even, and their complexion has a healthy glow that lasts.
The microneedling procedure itself is quick, simple, and painless. Dr. Green will provide you with a topical numbing cream that should be applied one hour before the procedure begins, and the microneedling itself will take less than an hour. Dr. Green typically recommends that patients return 3 to 5 times to see the full effects of the treatment. In most cases, Dr. Green pairs the treatment with skin-lightening serums or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). These additional treatments help target melanin-rich lesions to block melanin transfer to the area and further trigger collagen production. Paired with microneedling, these serums effectively eliminate skin pigmentation resulting from sunspots.
Cryotherapy for sun spot removal
An old-fashioned treatment option that used to be popular for removing sunspots was cryotherapy, which is when liquid nitrogen is used to freeze away sunspots. While the word “cryotherapy” may sound familiar, it is not a treatment option that is typically used anymore, as it can cause significant skin irritation and permanent damage to skin tissue. Instead, lasers, IPL, or chemical peels are used, as those treatments are more effective than cryotherapy and cause less damage to the skin.
How does the Candela Alex-Trivantage laser work for sunspots?
Before treating your age spots or sunspots, you should avoid sun exposure and not have a recent tan or sunburn. A topical numbing cream will be prescribed, which should be applied one hour before your laser treatment to minimize any discomfort. The laser treatment sensation is similar to snapping a rubber band against your skin, but the procedure will be entirely painless with the topical numbing cream. A small scab will develop in each treated sunspot and take approximately one week to heal. During this week, you will apply Aquaphor twice daily to the treated areas and avoid sun exposure. You should refrain from wearing make-up in the treated areas for one week after having your laser treatment. The sunspots will disappear within one week after your laser treatment, leaving you with healthy-looking new skin cells and an even skin tone.
The benefits of the Alex-Trivantage laser include
• Removes sun spots and age spots
• Removes tattoos, including black, blue, red, and green tattoo pigments
• Stimulates new collagen production to improve skin tone
• Requires only one or two treatments to remove sun spots
How to remove sun spots with chemical peels
Chemical peels are an excellent treatment for all-over sun damage, skin texture, fine lines, and sunspots. The topical chemical solution is applied to the affected areas of your skin and causes the outermost surface layer of skin cells to peel off. As the dead skin cells slough away at an increased rate, healthy new skin cells regenerate in their place. There are many different types of chemical peels, from glycolic acid, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, to trichloroacetic acid peels. Dr. Green will select the best type of chemical peel and the appropriate strength for you based on your skin type and the type and severity of unwanted pigmentation or skin discoloration to rejuvenate your skin and remove your sun spots.
Depending on the severity of your sun damage, Dr. Green will determine if a light, medium, or deep chemical peel is necessary. Chemical peels do not just treat and remove sun spots. Chemical peels also effectively treat actinic keratoses, hyperpigmentation, discoloration, melasma, and acne. The number of chemical peels required to achieve ideal cosmetic results can vary depending on your skin tone and the skin concern to be addressed. Typically, a short series of chemical peels, each spaced approximately four weeks apart, will renew your skin and remove your dark spots. You will notice a visible improvement after even just one peel. However, the best cosmetic results are obtained after a series of chemical peels are performed since it takes time to reverse years of sun damage.
More FAQs about Sunspots
There are many misconceptions about treating sunspots or age spots, and Dr. Green has compiled a list of the most common questions and answers for you below.
How to cure sun spots vs. Melasma
Many patients present to Dr. Green with recurring sunspots and discoloration, which have been treated with other lasers, such as Picosure, CO2, Erbium, Fraxel, and IPL, among other treatments. However, upon close inspection, these patients have underlying melasma, and the laser treatments have worsened their condition. Laser treatment is not the best treatment for melasma. It may temporarily improve the condition, with dark spots becoming lighter. However, after repeated sun exposure, these sun spots and melasma become much more difficult to treat as the pigmentation becomes deeper and more entrenched in the skin.
For this important reason, Dr. Green recommends chemical peels, topical skin lightening treatments, Mesopeels, and Cosmelan peels for melasma, not laser treatment. Dr. Green treats many patients who suffer from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or the worsening of their dark spots after laser treatment. Cosmelan is one of the best treatments to remove melasma and hyperpigmentation, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from laser treatments. Although melasma, like sun spots, is caused by exposure to UV rays, the hormonal association is what sets it apart. Pregnancy, hormonal replacement, and birth control pills can worsen melasma. Women and patients with darker skin types are more prone to developing melasma, and there is also a genetic component. Differentiating sun spots and melasma is critical, as they require completely different treatments. This is why working with an experienced board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, in NYC is critical. Dr. Green has over twenty-five years of experience providing some of the world’s most discerning individuals with the best non-invasive treatment options for hyperpigmentation, including melasma and sun spots. When you consult with Dr. Green, she will collect a thorough medical history, physically assess your skin condition, and develop a personalized treatment plan for your rejuvenation that best suits your needs and goals.
Will sunspots fade on their own? Will sunspots go away?
Unfortunately, sunspots do not fade or go away on their own. Sunspots result from sun damage and removing them requires treatment by a board-certified dermatologist. With the advent of laser treatments and chemical peels, sun spots can be safely and effectively removed by an expert, such as Dr. Michele Green in NYC, with little or no downtime.
Are sunspots cancerous? What is the difference between sun spots and skin cancer?
Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between a sunspot and skin cancer. Many common skin cancers, such as actinic keratoses, basal cell carcinomas, and malignant melanomas, can resemble sunspots. Skin cancer can be a harmless-looking spot on the face or body. However, a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Michele Green can recognize the difference between a benign and a malignant lesion. Most melanomas are darker and have irregular borders, while sunspots and solar lentigines are typically smaller and more uniform in shape.
How to tell if a dark spot is cancerous
Skin cancer is on the rise today in the United States, and identifying and treating these lesions early is more important than ever. The “ABCDE” of melanoma is not always one hundred percent accurate. Dr. Green removed many small melanomas that were clinically under four millimeters. Careful examination of a dark lesion and biopsy may be indicated to be certain of the correct diagnosis and treatment. The current statistics by the Skin Cancer Foundation show that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70. Having dark spots evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green, in New York City is important. Dr. Green is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and recommends yearly skin cancer examinations to diagnose, treat, and prevent skin cancer.
Are sunspots skin cancer? Can sunspots turn into cancer?
No, sunspots or age spots are completely benign and do not turn into skin cancer. However, due to repeated sun exposure, patients with more sunspots are at increased risk for developing skin cancer. Sunspots are a warning that you have had too much sun exposure, which has caused damage to your skin.
Are white sunspots cancerous?
If you have white sunspots, you may be concerned that the hypopigmented skin areas lacking pigment are dangerous or cancerous. However, white sunspots are typically benign, and their appearance is no cause for concern. White sunspots are usually 1-3 millimeters in size and appear on the arms, legs, chest, back, and face. Most individuals with white sun spots are 40 years of age or above, although younger individuals with excess sun exposure may develop white sunspots, too. It is important to remember that any new or changing skin lesions should be evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green in NYC. Dr. Green can evaluate your skin condition and diagnose you accurately. Some white skin lesions are symptoms of other skin conditions that require treatment. For example, a common skin fungus called Tinea versicolor presents as a pale-colored rash that worsens with sun exposure. The Tinea versicolor rash is often mistaken for white sunspots. Dr. Green will assess the affected areas of your skin and develop a treatment plan according to your needs.
Are sunspots on your skin dangerous?
Sunspots on your skin are not dangerous. Sunspots are an indication that you have sustained a lot of sun exposure during the course of your lifetime. Sunspots are benign lesions. However, having received so much sun exposure is a risk factor for developing skin cancer during your lifetime. Dr. Green recommends annual skin cancer exams to ensure that you don’t have any skin cancers which need immediate diagnosis and treatment.
What to use for sun spots on the face
The best way to avoid sunspots is proper sun protection and avoid unnecessary UV rays. Patients must use sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher, protecting against UVA and UVB rays. Dr. Green often suggests combing two different types of sunscreens, especially if there is a propensity for sunspots or melasma. By combining a chemical sunscreen with a physical sunscreen and applying it regularly to areas of your skin that get the most sun exposure, you will avoid developing sunspots and sun-related skin cancers. The AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) has a great deal of information on its website on the dangers of tanning, tanning beds, proper skin care, sun protection, and skin cancer prevention.
The key points to preventing sunspots or sun damage on your face are:
- Apply sunscreen daily before going outdoors.
- Reapply sunscreen at regular intervals, especially after swimming or sweating.
- Use sunscreens with an SPF 30 or higher with sunblock ingredients preventing UVA and UVB damage.
- Wear protective clothing from the sun, including wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunglasses.
- Avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when it is strongest.
How much does it cost to remove sunspots?
The cost of removing sunspots varies depending on the degree of hyperpigmentation or sunspots present. The price of sunspot removal is contingent on the type of laser or modality utilized for treatment and the extent of the sunspots and sun damage. The cost varies for each person depending on the extent of treatment necessary. When you make your consultation appointment with Dr. Green, she will assess the treatment area and determine the treatment plan that will work best for you. After that assessment has been made, her office can provide you with a better estimate of the total cost of the treatment.
How to treat sun spots at home
There are several at-home treatments for removing sunspots which include:
- Aloe vera to lighten hyperpigmentation.
- Apple cider vinegar to lighten sunspots when applied consistently.
- Green tea has a skin-lightening effect when applied topically.
- Vitamin C serum, like Dr. Green’s popular Vita-C-serum, has powerful antioxidant properties to lighten sunspots and repair the effects of damaging UV rays.
- Retinol creams and glycolic lotions help to exfoliate the skin, fade sunspots, and exfoliate the skin.
- Skin-lightening creams containing hydroquinones, kojic acid, arbutin, phytic acid, and azelaic acid all lighten the skin and diminish the appearance of sunspots and discoloration.
Does the sun kill fungus on the skin?
More research must be done to determine the firm answer to this question. However, preliminary studies have shown that UV radiation from the sun can eliminate fungus on the skin. This is particularly pertinent for patients suffering from Athlete’s Foot, which is a condition characterized by the development of fungi on the foot. Studies suggest that exposing the infected feet to sunlight can help to reduce the symptoms of the condition. Tinea versicolor is a type of skin fungus that can become more prominent or irritated with sun exposure. Tine Versicolor is a pale-colored rash and is often mistaken for white sunspots. This skin condition is not contagious or dangerous and can be treated by a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Green in NYC.
What helps with sun spots on shoulders?
If you are worried about the appearance of sunspots on your shoulders, you can make an appointment with Dr. Green to have them removed. Sunspots on shoulders can be removed in various ways, including laser treatment, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment, chemical peels, and Microneedling. These treatment options can be done safely and effectively on the shoulder to eliminate sunspots in that area permanently. Book your consultation appointment with Dr. Green today to determine which treatment option is best for you.
Can the sun cause bumps on the skin?
Yes. Those sensitive to sunlight may experience a condition called “polymorphous light eruption,” also known as polymorphic light eruption. This skin condition is characterized by a rash that develops from sun exposure. The rash is typically a patch of red skin with small bumps or an area of raised skin. Usually, the condition goes away on its own within ten days without any further effect on the skin. If you are concerned about a rash that has appeared on your skin, it is best to consult an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green.
Where do sunspots appear?
Sunspots tend to develop on the areas of the body with frequent sun exposure, including the face, chest, backs of the hands, neck, arms, and shoulders. However, these harmless brown spots can develop anywhere on the body if there has been sun exposure. While sunspots won’t fade away or disappear on their own, they can completely diminish or eliminate their appearance with treatment options offered by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michele Green in New York City. Dr. Green will assess the areas of your skin affected by sunspots, evaluate the severity of your hyperpigmentation, and develop a customized treatment protocol for achieving and maintaining clear, healthy, youthful-looking skin that lasts.
What do sunspots on the face look like?
Sunspots are smooth, flat, rounded areas of excess pigmentation that may be various shades of light tan to brown. Sunspots may resemble freckles, but they are usually larger and do not fade or go away on their own over time. Sunspots are commonly found in areas that get frequent sun exposure, including the nose and the rest of the face, as well as the chest, back, shoulders, arms, hands, and tops of the feet.
How to remove sun spots on the face
There are many treatment options available to remove sun spots on the face. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, you will discuss your specific needs and treatment area to determine your best treatment schedule. With so many options available, it is best to consult an expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green in NYC, to help you navigate the treatment options. Dr. Green has treatments available to address sun spots for all skin types. When it comes to treating sun spots on the face, the options range from laser treatments, such as the Candela Alex-Trivantage Laser or the Clear + Brilliant laser, to chemical peels, such as Cosmelan peels, to the application of skin lightening creams. Dr. Green may also recommend Intense Pulsed Light treatment to help destroy unwanted pigmentation on the skin. Following sun spot removal treatment, Dr. Green can recommend the most effective sunscreen to protect the skin and prevent the formation of additional sun spots in the future.
How to get rid of facial sun spots with laser treatment
Several laser treatment options are available to eliminate sun spots, including the Candela Alex-Trivantage Laser, the Fraxel Laser, and the Clear + Brilliant laser. Each laser treatment option serves a slightly different function when it comes to treating the skin. The Candela Alex-Trivantage laser works well to treat individual, distinct sun spots. The wavelength of light emitted by the laser targets the pigmentation in the skin to destroy the hyperpigmentation. The Fraxel laser is also often used to eliminate the appearance of sunspots. The Fraxel laser has two light wavelengths: the 1927 wavelength to treat dark spots on the skin’s surface and the 1550, which can address wrinkles and scars. Dr. Green may use the two wavelengths together to simultaneously address multiple signs of aging. The Fraxel laser is best used for patients with lighter skin. For patients with a darker skin tone, the Clear + Brilliant laser, known as the mini-Fraxel laser, is safe and effective at removing hyperpigmentation on the skin, including sun spots. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will help to determine the laser treatment that will work best to meet your needs.
How to remove face age spots with chemical peels
Chemical peels come in different depths and strengths and can be used to eliminate the appearance of sunspots on the face. The most popular chemical peel used for treating sun spots and age spots at Dr. Green’s office is the Cosmelan peel. The Cosmelan peel is used specifically to treat skin pigmentation and resurface the skin to eliminate hyperpigmentation from sun spots to melisma. Cosmlean peels also inhibit the further collection of melanin in the treatment area. Other forms of chemical peels can also be used on the face to trigger the production of new, lighter skin cells to reduce the appearance of pigmentation, remove dead skin cells, and unclog the pores. With a wide range of chemical peels available, it is best to consult an experienced dermatologist to determine the best depth and strength chemical peel that will be safe and effective for you.
How to treat sun spots on the face with IPL
When eliminating sun spots on the face, Dr. Green will often employ the use of the Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser. The treatment works by emitting a wavelength of light that is targeted toward the pigmentation in the second layer of the skin. The melanin in the hyperpigmentation absorbs the light and transforms it into heat energy, which destroys the pigmentation there. Intense Pulsed Light is also known as a photo facial and can be used to achieve tighter, smoother, more youthful-looking skin.
How to get rid of white spots from tanning
Sometimes, high amounts of sun exposure or tanning beds can result in hypo-pigmentation or the appearance of light spots on the affected area. White spots on the skin may occur for several reasons, and, as such, it is important to determine the cause of hypo-pigmentation to determine the best treatment method. One condition that can occur from too much sun exposure or from tanning beds is Tinea versicolor. Tinea versicolor occurs when there is an overgrowth of yeast, called pityrosporum, on the skin’s surface. This yeast feeds on sweat, which can increase when you find yourself someplace sunny or humid. When it comes to tanning beds, bacteria can grow in the hot environment where many people are sweating, triggering pityrosporum growth on your own body. Tinea versicolor can typically be treated using an anti-fungal medication that can be prescribed upon diagnosis of the condition.
An underlying condition can also cause white spots made more apparent by tanning that occurs on the skin, such as Vitiligo. Vitiligo is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where white patches form on the skin, resulting from the production of melanin being stopped. When patients tan, the already present vitiligo becomes more visible in contrast with the darker skin of the tan. Several treatments can help reduce the disparity in coloration, such as corticosteroid creams and UVA or UVB phototherapy. If you are experiencing white spots on the surface of the skin, it is best to consult a dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, to get the correct diagnosis and best treatment plan for your condition.
How to remove age spots from the hands
Sun spots or age spots on the backs of the hands are one of the tell-tale signs of aging. The hands are often exposed to the sun without the protection of sunscreen, leading to liver spots or sun spots on the backs of the hands. Luckily, just like the face, the backs of the hands can be treated to eliminate sun spots with various treatment methods. At Dr. Green’s office, treatment options for the hands range from skin-lightening creams from Dr. Green’s proprietary MGSKINLABs to laser treatment, such as the Fraxel laser, Candela Alex-Trivantage laser, or the Clear + Brilliant laser, to chemicals peels, and IPL treatment. With a wide range of treatments available, Dr. Green will help you determine the right treatment to reverse signs of aging and ensure your hands look bright, clear, and youthful.
How to remove liver spots
Liver spots are another name for sun spots, which occur due to overexposure to harmful UV rays. Excess exposure to the sun can cause the melanocytes in the body to increase melanin production in areas of your skin, which results in the formation of dark spots on the skin. Liver spots are harmless but can be a frustrating reminder of the natural aging process. Luckily, there are many options when it comes to liver spot removal. Laser treatment, chemical peels, intense pulsed light treatment, Hydrafacials, mesopeels, skin lightening creams, and microneedling are all treatment options available in Dr. Green’s Upper East Side dermatology office to remove liver spots from the skin.
45-54 year old female – Cosmelan for sunspots
How to heal sun spots
The first step to removing sun spots on the skin is to make an appointment with a board-certified, expert dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green, in NYC. A formal consultation with Dr. Green is needed to see which cosmetic treatment is best to remove your sunspots. Patients with light skin complexion may be candidates for Fraxel® or chemical peels. Dr. Green treats sun spots in many Asian patients with the Alex-Trivantage laser, which has a special wavelength designed to treat Asian skin. Darker skin types are usually best treated with chemical peels, Clear + Brilliant® chemical peels, or Cosmelan. If you are suffering from melasma, Dr. Green will evaluate you to see if lasers, skin-lightening creams, chemical peels, or Cosmelan® may be the best treatment for you.
How to get started with removing sunspots
The presence of sunspots can cause one to appear much older than their true age and, for many, cause feelings of self-consciousness or low self-esteem. Luckily, Dr. Green offers many non-invasive treatments for eliminating sunspots and restoring an even skin tone. Dr. Michele Green treats some of the most discerning men and women worldwide for sunspot removal in her private NYC dermatology office. Sunspots can be treated anywhere on the body, including but not limited to the face, neck, décolletage, hands, arms, legs, and back.
With over 25 years of experience, Dr. Green is an expert in non-invasive cosmetic treatments, such as Botox®, cosmetic dermal filler treatments, laser resurfacing treatments, and Thermage®, among others. Her dedication to her patients and to her practice is well-reflected by the fact that she is consistently voted as one of the best physicians in New York by Castle Connolly, Super Doctors, and New York Magazine.
Dr. Green personally performs all laser treatments in her New York-based office, and when you consult with Dr. Green she will work with you to thoroughly understand your specific skin concerns and ideal cosmetic results. Together you will develop a treatment plan that incorporates a unique combination of in-office procedures and specially formulated skin care products to address your skin condition best and provide optimal results. Whether you are looking to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation associated with sun damage, freckles, or sun spots or otherwise rejuvenate your skin, Dr. Green can help. To develop your personalized treatment plan and consult with Dr. Green, call the New York City-based office at 212 535 3088 or contact us online today.