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Diagnosis

  • Visual inspection: The doctor usually diagnoses sunspots by directly looking at the skin of the patient.
  • Skin biopsy: Skin biopsy is used to distinguish sunspots from other conditions; for example, lentigo maligna which is a type of skin cancer. During this, a small sample of skin is taken for microscopic analysis.

Sunspots

The flat brown spots or tan spots formed on the skin by excessive sun exposure or UV damage are known as sunspots. Ultraviolet rays from the sun stimulate the multiplication of melanocytes in an uncontrolled manner, resulting in their formation. These spots are harmless and non-cancerous but can affect the overall facial appearance. These spots are most visible in the areas of the body most exposed to the sunlight like face, neck, shoulders, chest, and backs of the hands. Medically this skin condition is also known as "liver spots" or "solar lentigines", though the liver is not responsible for this. They are not risky for health, and many people look for the treatment for cosmetic reasons.

The sunspots can be reduced with expert help, proper sun protection, and some advanced treatments. People get sunspots around the age of 35, and fair or lighter skin people get them earlier or later in life, and this depends on the sun exposures or some time on their genetic inheritance also. If someone is suffering from sunspots and age spots, the Q-switched laser is one of the best techniques to remove them. Laser treatment can remove sunspots and help to get beautiful spotless skin again. In this technology, unwanted sunspots and brown spots are targeted. This technology delivers laser energy that slowly reduces sunspots with the help of the natural healing process of the body.

Sun exposure (UVA and UVB light)

The melanin pigment is present in the skin which captures sunlight and defends the skin from UV rays damage. However, when skin gets overexposed to the sun rays, it increases the formation of melanin. This high amount of melanin develops slowly and causes dark spots on the skin.

Age: As with increasing age, the strength of the skin to defend against UV rays decreases, so the chances of getting sun spots increase.

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Laser toning treatment for sunspots

Laser toning is used for the removal of unwanted sunspots, age spots, and brown spots from the skin. This treatment is not appropriate for pregnant women and patients who have herpes or cold sores. During this treatment, the dark pigments causing sunspots are targeted and are broken down through the laser energy pulse that travels in billions of seconds. The dark pigments are naturally reabsorbed and removed off from the body's immune system. The energy released during laser treatment feels like various small hot dots on the skin. A stream of cold air is directed on the sunspots to minimize discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

The appearance of the sunspots can be reduced with the help of advanced laser treatments. Q-switched laser or laser toning is one of the best techniques to remove sunspots. People usually get sunspots around the age of 35, which may be due to sun exposure or genetic inheritance. Laser helps in targeting the unwanted sunspots, as laser treatment delivers energy that slowly reduces the sunspot's appearance by breaking the dark pigment present in the different layers of the skin. The pigments are naturally removed from the body, and one can get a youthful and brighter looking skin tone.

Sunspots or solar lentigines can occur any on any part of the body such as face, hands, shoulders, and chest, and are usually removed for cosmetic reasons. The treatment option for sunspots depends on the cause and the area of the body. Different types of treatments are available, which are very helpful and beneficial for diminishing the appearance of sunspots. These include peels, Intense Pulse Light, and Q-switched laser which are efficient for getting rid of sunspots on the shoulder. In laser treatment, the light targets the dark melanin pigments and breaks the spots. The IPL device produces an intense, visible, broad-spectrum light that heats and destroys the sunspots, and it effectively reduces the sun spot's appearance. All these treatments are very much helpful to get rid of sunspots on shoulders and other body parts.

Sunspots mainly occur in the areas which are exposed to the sun. Sunspots may become lighter in appearance in winter due to less sun exposure, but they do not go away on their own. Advanced and effective treatment is highly recommended to get rid of sunspots. Dermatologists usually recommend laser technology like Q-switched laser, IPL to get rid of sunspots. Other treatments include medication, cryotherapy, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, chemical peel which help to correct the appearance of sunspots. Multiple sessions are recommended to achieve the best results. All these treatments must be performed after proper skin examination by a skin specialist.

Sunspots are visible on areas that are exposed to sunlight like face, neck, shoulder, chest, and back of hands. In the first step, the dermatologist examines the patient for severity of the condition and determines the treatment that would work best for his/her skin type. A laser is considered the best treatment option for treating sunspots. Q-switched laser is one of the best treatments for sunspots on the face. Laser treatment removes sunspots by selectively targeting the dark spots and breaking down the pigment without causing any damage to the surrounding skin. Fraxel laser, Intense Pulsed Light, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, and certain topical creams are also effective in removing dark spots from the face.

Sunspots are flat brown spots that mostly occur in areas that are exposed to the sun, and they are generally harmless. Sunspots are caused due to the over-activity of the enzyme tyrosinase, which is a key factor in the production of melanin and results in dark spot formation. It is also observed that sunspots occur due to genetic factors too. Sometimes hormonal changes and side effects of certain medicines can also lead to small patches of skin discoloration formation.

Sun damage usually causes sunspots, which hampers the look of an individual. Several home remedies help in getting rid of sun damage. Some of them include the application of aloe vera gel, vitamin C and E serums, green tea water, red onion juice, lemon juice, lactic acid present in buttermilk, honey, etc. Which can help to reduce the appearance of sunspots. Home remedies, some time do not provide effective results. In such cases, advanced treatments like Q-switched laser, Intense Pulsed Light, Chemical peel, dermabrasion are proven effective to get rid of sun damage and help to provide clear damaged free skin. The laser treatment is proven to be most effective in treating sun-damaged skin and also promotes the production of collagen and makes the skin lighter and even-toned in appearance.


Dr. Rohit Batra, an MD (Dermatology,
Venereology & Leprology), is an adult,
pediatric and cosmetic dermatologist
& dermato-surgeon based at New Delhi.


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