Sunspots, solar lentigines, and sometimes even “liver spots” are areas of hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is an area of the skin that becomes darker after increased melanin production. This can happen for several reasons and is not usually cause for any concern. While many people may opt to have them removed for aesthetics, they do not require treatment. We’re going to look a little deeper at sunspots, their causes, and possible treatments.
What Are The Signs Of Sunspots?
Symptoms of sunspots are most frequently spots on the skin that vary in color. They often range from a very dark tan, light brown, to a very dark brown. The darkness level that results usually depends on the tone of the person’s skin initially. Sunspots do not vary in texture, so they feel just like the neighboring skin, and they are not painful.
Sunspots are most common in the following locations:
- Hands, particularly on the back
Some individuals with darker skin will notice that they have a potential sunspot, but it will often fade away within a year. Some examples of deeper hyperpigmentation can take years to fade fully and even appear deep blue or gray.
How Are Sunspots Caused?
One of the most common causes, as the name would suggest, is sun exposure and damage. It is not uncommon for those who utilize tanning beds often also to experience sunspots. The areas of the body most commonly exposed or damaged by the sun are the areas most likely to develop sunspots.
Sometimes in pregnant women, hormonal changes can cause a condition known as melasma. Melasma causes discoloration of small areas of the skin. It is not limited to women, but it is much more common compared to men.
Side-Effects Of Medications
Some prescription medications have side effects that can affect pigmentation. Some of the most common over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are known to cause it on occasion. Additional medications that can cause it are tetracycline and some psychotropic drugs.
Sometimes wounds that have taken some time to heal can remain visible on the skin as a dark spot. These will often fade relatively quickly.
Diabetes can also cause some darkening of the skin. Some of the conditions seen as complications of diabetes, like acanthosis nigricans or diabetic dermopathy, can resemble sunspots.
This is one of the most effective and newest technologies used to reduce the appearance of sunspots. The laser uses pulsed light to break up the additional pigmentation.
Cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen applied to the darker areas, which causes damage to the skin. When the skin heals from the freeze damage, it frequently heals lighter than before the cryotherapy.
Abrasion & Peels
Microdermabrasion uses abrasion to remove your skin’s outer layer, hopefully fostering healthier skin growth and lightening the spots. Chemical peels use a chemical solution to remove the outer layer of skin to reduce the darkness of the spots.
Prescription Skin Lighteners
Some creams can be prescribed by a doctor that bleach the skin. They are often slow to work and take several months of consistent use to see any lightening of dark spots.
Many people turn to cheaper over-the-counter creams and natural remedies when trying to lighten sunspots. Some of these creams use exfoliating agents or compounds that promote healthy new skin growth. While not as strong as their prescription counterparts, they may work in some circumstances or with generally lighter spots.
Revive Your Skin at Rejuv Laser & Skin
Call today and make an appointment with Rejuvenation Laser & Skin Center. Our professional team will discuss the best options for any issues you may be having. We will work around your schedule as much as possible, and we now have additional financing options available!