Sunspots & Age Spots
Brown spots, or pigmented lesions, are a common cosmetic concern. Treatment of pigmented lesions depend upon the type of spot you wish to treat. Most often, our state-of-the-art laser therapy is used to completely remove or fade sunspots, age spots, and liver spots. Other therapies, such as microdermabrasion, medical peels, and topical home skin care, are developed based on the type of pigmented lesion as well as the client's goals.
What do sunspot/age spots look like? And why do they occur?
Sunspots are flat, light brown spots on the skin and are caused by sun exposure. If a brown spot on your skin is from a blemish, it is not a sunspot; but rather, it is the result of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
How do I know if I am medically eligible to receive a laser sunspot/age spot removal treatment?
Before your laser treatment, the nurse will examine your spots. In order for us to treat your sunspots, age spots, or liver spots, we must first be certain that they are indeed solar lentigines. Upon examination, if the nurse determines that there is a possibility that a spot could be malignant, we will request that you first see a dermatologist to rule out any suspicion.
Because sunspots and age spots are close to the surface of the skin, the laser must target the outer layers of your skin in order to find the area of pigmentation. These outer layers of skin also happen to be where our natural skin pigments reside. Unfortunately, this means that we can only treat sunspots and age spots on light to medium skin types. In some case, a test spot will be done on those with a borderline skin type.
If you're unsure whether you are eligible, book a free consultation with our registered nurse.
How many treatments will be necessary to remove sunspots/age spots
with the laser?
Treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the size of the affected area, color of the patient's skin, and depth to which the abnormal pigment extends beneath the surface of the skin. About 75% of all sunspots will require one treatment to resolve. Others may require two, or possibly three, treatments to fully resolve. With each treatment, however, the sunspot will lighten. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to determine whether a spot will require, 1, 2, or 3 treatments for the spot to completely disappear.
What parts of the body can be treated?
Virtually any part of the body can be treated. The face, hands, and chest are the most common areas where sunspots are present; however, some may have spots on their arms, legs, abdomen, etc.
Is the process uncomfortable?
The sensation is similar to the snapping of a thin rubber band onto the skin. After the treatment, the area will feel similar to a mild sunburn. Ice will be applied. The client may choose to continue icing the area after treatment or apply aloe to sooth the skin.
What can I expect after my treatment?
The pigmented lesion (i.e. sunspot or age spot) will darken within 5-10 minutes after treatment and the skin around the spot will be a little red. Ice will be applied to the treated area. After your treatment, aloe may be used to sooth the skin. If you wish, you may apply breathable, mineral-based concealer to the treated area. Within a few days, the darkened spot will form a micro-crust. Aquaphor can be used to keep the area moist until the crust sloughs off. Similar to when a scab falls off, the skin underneath will be pink in color. The skin will gradually return to normal skin color revealing new, unblemished skin. The total time it takes for the spot to disappear and the skin to normalize depends on the part of the body that was treated. Sun/age spots on the face typically require 7-10 days. All other parts of the body, such as the hands and chest, may take as long as 3-4 weeks to completely heal. The use of sun block, SPF 25 or greater, is mandatory during the healing process.
What precautions should I take after the treatment?
A full-spectrum, UVA/UVB sun block, SPF 25 or greater, must be worn throughout the healing process. We recommended sun blocks containing zinc oxide and/or titantium dioxide as the primary active ingredients. We carry several different non-toxic sun blocks for our clients' convenience. Prolonged sun exposure should be avoided. The area should be patted and not scrubbed during cleansing. Mild cleansers and moisturizers should be used.
How long should I wait until I get a second treatment on the same spot?
Before a second or third treatment to the same spot, you need to wait until the spot is fully healed. On the face, we usually have our clients wait 3 weeks until a second appointment. On other parts of the body, we usually will wait 4-5 weeks for a second appointment. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine by examination whether a spot will require, 1, 2, or 3 treatments for the spot to completely disappear.
What about pigmented acne blemishes?
Pigmented acne blemishes, a type of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), can occur among all skin types; however, it is most common among those with medium to dark skin tones. Laser treatments may actually worsen pigmentation that is the result of PIH. We use a combination of therapies to treat pigmented acne blemishes. Because they are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, we must treat these spots differently than sun spots or age spots. The best way for us to assess the proper therapy is through an initial consultation.
We offer free consultations to anyone interested in our services. During your consultation, you and your technician can discuss what you hope to accomplish and how our services can make you feel better and look great. A consultation is not always necessary, and many clients choose to just begin treatment. If getting to our office is a problem, we can schedule a phone consultation - although please keep in mind that it is often necessary to see the client in person.
*Option to Numb Prior to Treatment. For certain laser treatments, we offer the option to the numb the treatment area with Lidocaine 2.5% and Prilocaine 2.5% numbing cream. This enables us to treat sensitive areas of the body without any discomfort for our clients. Numbing for Wrinkle Reduction or Skin Tightening is done on-site after a microdermabrasion (visit our skin tightening/wrinkle reduction page for more information). Numbing for laser hair removal can be done on-site by one of our technicians or off-site by the client before their appointment. For more information about numbing prior to laser hair removal, visit our laser hair removal page.
Cancellation Policy: Your treatments are reserved especially for you. We value your business and ask that you respect our clinic's scheduling policies. Should you need to cancel or reschedule, please notify us at least 24 hours in advance. Any cancellations with less than a 24 hour notice are subject to a cancellation fee of $25. This includes free consultations. We recognize that the time of our clients and staff is valuable, and we have implemented this policy for this reason. When you book an appointment with us, you are agreeing to this policy. All services require credit card or gift certificate information to guarantee a reservation. You will not be billed unless you fail to provide sufficient notice of a cancellation. Alternately, clients may provide a $25 deposit in the form of cash, check, or credit card which will be applied to their visit or refunded to them at check-out.
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65 Atlantic Ave | Boston, MA | 02110 | 617.523.7200