Understanding Dark Spots and Treatments

older white woman age spots

One of the most common questions asked of dermatologists by adults over the age of 50 is, how did I get these dark spots? With a popular runner-up of How do I get rid of them? The reason this question is so popular is because everyone gets them. It is whether you embrace the wisdom spots or want to find a way to diminish them that makes a difference. Although it may be tempting to look on social media and buy the latest trending product for fading, in all honesty, it is best to visit and consult with a professional and licensed dermatologist for treatment options. Skin type, history, and current medications all play a role in deciding on the best treatment, and why take missteps when you can get the results you want?

Age, Liver, and Wisdom Spots

You may have heard these spots referred to as age spots. Their scientific name is solar lentigines, which have also been called liver spots. None of the names are quite appealing, and neither are those dark spots as they begin to appear, get darker, and sometimes turn red as we age. The dark spots are damaged skin and changed pigment on the skin. These spots are more common in adults over the age of 50, and a more eloquent name for them is wisdom spots, which is because they say that with age comes wisdom.

Although caused mainly by sun exposure over time, but also increasing in darkness and frequency with age, dark spots may also appear due to nutritional deficiencies or be attributed to family history. The sun’s UV rays increase melanin production, which causes the discoloring of the skin. Prolonged sun exposure, especially unprotected by SPF, can worsen spots. These factors are why having a professional look at them, providing an accurate diagnosis, and providing affordable treatments are crucial. Buckhead Dermatology has a robust list of insurance providers they work with, offering affordable skincare for all clients!

Treatment Options

  • Non-Laser

Laser treatments are one option for dark spots on the skin, but laser is not the only option. Dermatologists are able to prescribe spot removal methods and creams, but this can take longer than some are willing to wait for results. Cryotherapy is another treatment that freezes the darker-colored cells, and as the skin heals, the natural color returns. Microdermabrasion smooths sway the age spots, but this approach does take several treatments (usually between 8-10), and in-between care must be followed closely for best results. Chemical peels target spots and remove the damaged skin cells. This treatment is often used with the other treatments mentioned. Most clients do not find chemical treatment alone to be enough to get radical enough results.

  • Laser

Laser treatments should only be done by a trained and licensed professional. Depending on your dermatologist, they may do the treatments in the office or refer you to a trusted office to perform the procedure. There are ablative and non-ablative lasers. Ablative laser treatments take longer to heal but go into the deeper layers of skin where the discoloration begins. Pulsed light lasers can take three months of regular treatments. Consult with your dermatologist on the best options for what you seek!

  • Home Treatments

After visiting a dermatologist, a person may determine that they want to start using at-home treatments. Instead of guessing and spending unnecessary money on products over the counter (this can be very costly), having the guidance of a licensed professional will make a difference in the results. Lightening products may have ingredients that have controversial side effects, and there are creams and lotions that are safe for use. There is no reason to get health issues while seeking to beautify one’s skin!

Note: It is absolutely critical to use sunscreen diligently after any spot removal treatment because the skin is more vulnerable, and sun exposure can do exponentially more damage than before treatment.

If you have age spots, wisdom spots, or liver spots and want to find out what treatment options may work best for you, contact Buckhead Dermatology today for an appointment. Dr. Sherrie Straugh has been faithfully serving the Atlanta area for more than 25 years. She is an expert in her field and is committed to helping each person navigate the many options for dark spot treatments and, ultimately, achieve their skin goals. No matter what skincare concern you face, you are not alone, and there are options! Dr. Straughn believes everyone deserves to feel great in their skin and has the experience to get results. Please do not wait to optimize your skin’s beauty; contact her offices today and get ready for your spring and summer looks!