Age Spots (Liver Spots)
Liver spots, commonly known as age spots, are a sign of aging that can compromise a smooth, youthful look of the face and other areas. The spots are usually seen in black, brown or tan colors, and in varying sizes. Exposure to the sun over the years causes these spots in sun-exposed areas such as the face, hands, shoulders and arms. People above the age of 50 are more commonly affected by age spots.
Several non-surgical treatments can be used to mitigate the effect of liver spots or remove them entirely from the skin. An experienced treatment provider will suggest the best solutions depending on a patient’s skin type, color and the size of the spots. Dr. Gary Motykie MD is a board certified plastic surgeon providing treatment for age spots to patients in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and surrounding locations.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
It is possible to treat age spots with non-surgical treatments that will involve minimal to no downtime or discomfort. But the provider must take care to select a treatment that can penetrate below the epidermis because the pigment in age spots is located at the bottom of the epidermis.
In case of mild to moderate appearance of liver spots, some prescription bleaching creams may be applied to reduce their effect over several months. If the condition is more severe, the provider may recommend a combination of these creams along with retinoids and a steroid.
During and after the treatment, the patient should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for a few months. Initial side effects of the treatment may include itching, redness, dryness or stinging sensation.
Melanocytes, which are melanin producing cells, are the cause behind age spots. Melanocytes can be eliminated or disintegrated with the help of targeted light based treatments such as IPL or laser therapy. The top layer of the skin remains unaffected with these treatments.
Following light therapy, the age spots will gradually diminish over a few months. These treatments do not have any significant side effects, but mild skin discoloration may occur in some cases. Sun protection is essential with these treatments.
Liquid nitrogen or another freezing agent may be applied to destroy the melanin pigment. The skin begins to appear lighter as the treated area heals. Freezing therapy may be used over a single liver spots or a small cluster of spots.
This procedure involves planing or sanding down of the upper skin layer with a fast rotating brush. As the top layer is removed, it gets replaced with new skin. Temporary redness and scab formation may occur with this technique.
Customized chemical peels can be applied to treat age spots. The chemical will cause the uppermost layer of skin to peel. New skin will appear in its place, causing the age spots to fade. Dr. Gary Motykie MD receives patients from Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and other communities throughout the region for age spot treatment.
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