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Ask Our Expert: Brown Spots: Are they sun damage or just age spots?

Ask Our Expert: Brown Spots:

 Q: Roxanne, I have brown spots on my face, arms and chest.  How do I know if they are caused from sun damage or if they are just age spots?

A: Lentigos, or lentigines are commonly referred to as brown spots, sun spots, liver spots or age spots.  They appear as flat spots in various shades of brown that appear on skin that has been over exposed to the sun. These spots can appear on the face, arms, shoulders, neck, chest, hands; anywhere the skin has been over-exposed to the sun. Typically, the lighter the skin and the more sun exposure one has, the greater accumulation or chance of accumulation of sun spots.

Melanocytes, which are cells that produce pigment in the skin are activated to produce more pigment (melanin) when you are exposed to ultraviolet rays. Because the symptoms of excessive sun damage are cumulative, these spots increase with age, hence the term “age spots.” They are more common in lighter skin types (Fitzpatrick 1-3), such as those who freckle and who burn easily but can appear in any skin type.

I recommend applying a medical-grade, physical sunblock such as Physical Defense by Castillo MD Skin Science, 365 days per year, to all skin that will be exposed.  Not only is this your best defense for future sun damage but  you may find that the brown spots that you have become lighter over time.

There are  treatments that can help to rid your skin of brown spots as well. CO2 Micro-Fractional Laser Resurfacing is typically an excellent option.  A series of Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments can also deliver very good  results.  Some chemical peels  can improve spots to some degree as well as skin bleaching or lightening agents like Advanced Lightening Complex or Spot Light. 

While sun spots themselves are not cancerous, if you have had enough lifetime sun exposure to develop brown spots, this may place you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.  Therefore, it’s a good idea have your physician examine them for changes from time to time.

Warmly,

Roxanne Grace Hammond
Skincare & Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY http://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com

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800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington

 

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3 Responses to “Ask Our Expert: Brown Spots: Are they sun damage or just age spots?”

  1. Ruby says:

    Hi there. I wanted to find out what is the latest times during week you can do consultation in Bloomington? I have brown spots on face. I had IPLs, BBLs, frozen and still there. Not sure what else I can try? But would like to check. Thank you

  2. Thank you for inquiring about our services. We do offer some effective options for treating brown spots and would be happy to discuss them with you during your consultation. The latest new patient appointment time at our Bloomington location is 3pm. Late appointment times are of course popular so it is best to call the office 217-359-7508 and talk with Brianna. She will be happy to try to find a date and time that will for you.

    Roxanne,
    Laser & Skincare Specialist

  3. Thank you for inquiring about our services. We do offer effective options for treating brown spots and would be happy to discuss them in detail during your consultation. The latest new patient appointment available in our Bloomington office is 3pm. Since the late appointments are popular, it would be best to call our office (217-3597508) and speak with Brianna. She will be happy to try to find a date and time that works for you.

    Roxanne,
    Laser & Skincare Specialist

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