Say Goodbye to Sun Spots
Summer may be bidding farewell for another year, but those brown spots on your skin that developed from too much fun in the sun aren’t going anywhere. Powerful UV rays can leave a host of skin damage behind, not the least of which is unwanted pigmentation known as age spots and new freckles. Fortunately, you don’t have to sport those signs of damage and aging all the way through fall and into the holidays. Dr. Rappaport and the team at Houston Center for Plastic Surgery have the perfect solution to help you say goodbye to those sun spots once and for all.
Why do spots form?
Pigmentation marks left by the sun go by many names, including sun, age and liver spots. They are also called solar lentigines, due to their link to sun exposure. While these marks can raise concern, in most cases they are not dangerous. However, it is always a good idea to have new spots checked out by a plastic surgeon who can let you know if the spots could indicate an early malignancy and provide effective treatments to eliminate the pigmentation at the same time.
Brown spots form on the skin when pigment cells within the dermal layers become overly active. This process is often triggered by sun exposure or tanning lamps. You might not see the result of the damage right away; in fact, spots often appear over time which is why they are sometimes called age spots. They commonly appear on areas of the skin that are subject to regular sun exposure, such as the face, back, chest and shoulders. People with lighter colors of hair and skin tend to be more apt to develop these spots, with redheads being especially vulnerable.
Other possible reasons why brown spots might form include hormonal fluctuations, which explains why they sometimes develop around pregnancy or menopause. Some skin conditions can also lead to the appearance of these markings, which is why it is always a good idea to have new spots assessed by a plastic surgeon or another skin specialist. If necessary, your doctor can have a biopsy performed on a portion of the pigment to ensure there is no malignancy present.
Best Treatment for Sun Spots
Once the sun spot is determined to be harmless, you can still choose to remove it for cosmetic reasons. Dr. Rappaport offers IPL treatments for this purpose in most cases. IPL stands for intense pulsed light therapy, and it has proven to be one of the most effective non-surgical methods for eliminating pigmentation irregularities as well as visible veins that often form. IPL treatments are offered at SUBTLchanges, the skin care rejuvenation clinic at Houston Center for Plastic Surgery.
The IPL treatment works by delivering pulses of light into the deeper layers of the dermis, targeting the melanin that leads to the formation of brown spots. The light diminishes the brown hue of the pigment, producing a smoother, clearer complexion. Because there are different wavelengths of light emitted from the device, the procedure can target a more diverse array of skin discolorations to provide patients with the best possible results from a single treatment platform.
Benefits of IPL
IPL treatments offer a myriad of treatment benefits, in addition to their ability to reduce the appearance of brown spots. Some of those advantages include:
- Reduce the appearance of visible vessels like spider veins and vascular lesions
- Treat active acne breakouts, when combined with a topical acne-fighting agent
- Diminish diffuse redness that frequently accompanies rosacea and acne
- Stimulate some collagen production for a smoother, more youthful complexion
Because the procedure does not damage the outer dermis or surrounding tissue, the procedure does not require any recovery time afterward. This means you can schedule quick, regular IPL treatments to maintain your benefits over the long term.
How IPL Works
An IPL session is performed in our office without the need for topical anesthetic in most cases. An applicator is moved across the skin’s surface, delivering light therapy into the underlying dermal structure where it will have the greatest effect. Most of our patients find the treatment to be relatively comfortable, describing a slight snapping or stinging sensation as the light wavelengths are delivered. Most treatments take about 30 minutes to complete.
After your IPL procedure, your skin may be somewhat red and tender, like you have a sunburn. These effects are usually mild and do not last more than a few hours in most cases. It is essential to use sunscreen after your treatment since the skin will be more vulnerable to burning. Sun protection will also help you maintain the positive results you will start to see soon after your procedure.
IPL therapy is an excellent choice for reversing summer sun damage that has left you with brown spots and unwanted freckling. The procedure offers long-lasting benefits when you schedule regular maintenance sessions. To find out if IPL is the right treatment for you, contact Houston Center for Plastic Surgery today at 713-790-4500.