When a new mark appears on your skin, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether it’s a sunspot, freckle, birthmark—or something more serious, such as skin cancer. If you’re worried about a spot on your skin, the best thing to do is have it checked out by a board-certified dermatologist. There are certain characteristics that differentiate non-cancerous spots from cancerous ones. Solar lentigines (also called liver spots, sunspots, or age spots) are blemishes on the skin that are typically flat, small, oval-shaped, and darker than the surrounding skin tone. They are forms of skin discoloration that can be different shades of tan or brown and appear on sun-exposed areas. These lesions are caused when pigment cells in the skin become overactive due to exposure to UV radiation from the sun, which causes large amounts of pigment to clump together. Although they are harmless and won’t become cancerous, you can choose to have them removed if you don’t like the way they look. Intense pulsed light is what our Los Angeles-based team of dermatologists often recommends for reducing these hyperpigmented spots, but you can also try other remedies or a combination of different techniques.
Patients can use over-the-counter products containing vitamins C and E to lighten unwanted pigmentation on the skin. There are also creams that are specifically designed to lighten hyperpigmentation, such as products containing hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, kojic acid, or deoxyarbutin.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) and certain types of laser resurfacing treatments make skin clearer by selectively targeting and heating the pigment that causes sunspots, freckles, or other types of irregular pigmentation without harming the rest of the skin. The skin then gradually gets rid of the unwanted pigment from the surface on its own. Microneedling can also decrease the visibility of sunspots by promoting collagen production.
Discover more about treatments for sunspots, including intense pulsed light, at our Los Angeles-based Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills. Submit a contact form online or call us at 310-246-0495 to request a consultation if you want to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive aesthetic procedures.Written by Dr. Derek Jones
Dr. Derek Jones is a renowned Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area dermatologist practicing in cosmetic and general dermatology.