May 25, 2016

Laser Age Spot Removal

Age spots are the body’s natural defense mechanism to sun exposure.  By developing these dark colored spots at the skin surface, our body is protecting itself from harmful and potentially cancer causing ultraviolet light.  A common sun spot (also known as a lentigine) is an aggregation of melanocytes or pigmented cells.  They can appear light or dark brown and are usually smaller than a coin.

Although sun spots may be meant to protect us from UV exposure, they can be unsightly.  Luckily, there are excellent options for removing them.  Laser treatments, IPL (photofacials), and liquid nitrogen can all be used for age spot removal.

At Celibre Medical, we prefer laser treatments for the removal of age spots, and in particular, we use q-switched lasers.  Q-switched lasers are designed to remove tattoos, birthmarks, freckles, flat moles and other dark spots or marks.  Because of the high power required to remove birthmarks and tattoos, this type of laser has an easy time of permanently removing sun damage and age spots.  Typically 1-3 visits are required and at our practice, we space these treatments one month apart.  There can be a minor recovery period after the treatment and we refer to this as “social” downtime”. One would not need to take time of work, but there may be darkening, crusting or even light scabbing of the spots that would discourage a patient from working or attending social events.

IPl (Intense Pulsed Light) is another light based option for improving sun damage.  Although not a laser, IPL can be effective in removing some forms of sun damage.  Like lasers, there may be some flaking or crusting after treatment that may result in several days of social downtime or recovery.
A more traditional method of treating age spots is liquid nitrogen.  Liquid nitrogen has been used for many years to remove sun spots and can be effective.  The drawback is that the process creates a significant injury to the skin which can result in deeper scabbing and hyperpigmentation that does not accompany laser treatments.

Guest Blogger Kevin DiCerbo is the Director of Celibre Medical. He has been working side by side with Dr. Harold J Kaplan since 2004 and has managed Celibre Medical since its inception. He is a certified medical laser safety office (CMLSO) and uses his knowledge of laser physics to help patients understand laser treatments. He has a BS in Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from UCLA.

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