Sunspots, age spots, and dark spots – no matter what you call them, brown spots on the skin can be one of the most frustrating signs of visible aging. Brown spots have a tendency to show up around middle age, which is when the natural aging process finally catches up to us, even for people who have been diligent with anti-aging efforts. Fortunately, the experts at Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA know the best treatments for brown spot removal, such as laser treatments.
Brown spots are typically caused by sun damage sustained in your youth. If you spent a lot of time outdoors without sunscreen, you can generally expect brown spots to show up around your 40s and 50s. Brown spots develop when there is an overabundance of melanin in specific areas of the skin, such as the cheeks and the forehead. While brown spots won’t go away by themselves, treatments with advanced laser technology are generally effective for removing unwanted pigmentation.
How Effective Is Laser Brown Spot Removal?
Laser treatments are the number one most effective treatment for brown spot removal. There are several laser systems that can gently and effectively remove unwanted pigment from your skin. The type of laser system used for your treatment will be determined by factors such as the severity of the brown spots, your skin type, and your skin tone.
How Does Laser Brown Spot Removal Work?
No matter the specific type of laser system used, all laser treatments correct the appearance of brown spots the same way. Laser treatments are designed to direct energy to the surface and sub-dermal layers of the skin to trigger certain responses.
One response is to increase collagen production and other healing factors; another response, and the goal of brown spot removal, is to accelerate the cellular turnover of the skin so that dark spots can effectively be exfoliated from the skin.
Are Laser Treatments Safe for All Skin?
Some laser treatments are universal and some treatments can’t be used by people who have medium to dark complexions. Most universal lasers are designed in such a way that the laser energy will not trigger melanin production in medium and dark skin tones.
There are many laser treatments that are perfectly safe for skin of color. We will be able to identify the laser ideal for your treatment during your consultation.
How Should You Prepare for Treatment?
There are two important rules you should follow to prepare for laser treatments. The first is to avoid all unprotected sun exposure for at least two weeks before your appointment, as well as other elements that might darken your skin.
The second is to avoid harsh exfoliating treatments, including chemical peels, retinol, and other energy-based treatments, as this may irritate your skin and force you to postpone your treatment.
Are Treatments Comfortable?
Yes, your laser treatment will be very comfortable. Laser systems commonly have built-in cooling devices that will keep the surface of your skin comfortable for the duration of the treatment. You will have the option of requesting a topical numbing cream to use during your treatment, as well.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
The number of treatments you will need to remove your unwanted brown spots will be determined by the laser system used for your treatment and the severity of your brown spots. Some laser treatments will require a series of one to three appointments to improve the appearance of the skin, while other laser systems are powerful enough to remove dark spots in as little as one treatment.
How Soon Will You See Results?
The results of your laser treatment will likely appear gradually. At first, you will notice some immediate improvement in the tone and texture of your skin. As your skin continues to heal after your laser treatment, your results will continue to improve. Most people can see the final results of a laser treatment within three to six months. Your results can even continue to improve after this timeframe.
What Is Recovery Like?
The recovery period after your treatment is relatively small. Some patients go back to normal daily activities immediately, while others prefer to take one or two days off work. You will be able to drive yourself home after your appointment. There will be a few restrictions you will need to observe while your skin is recovering, such as avoiding hot water, scrubbing the skin, or using chemical exfoliants for at least two weeks.
During the first two to four weeks after your treatment, it’s also important that you protect your skin from any melanin triggers. This includes avoiding sunlight, self-tanning products, and tanning beds. Please wear broadspectrum SPF when you plan to be outside for any length of time.
How Long Will Results Last?
In general, you can expect the results of a laser treatment for brown spots to produce very long-lasting results. Some people may even experience permanent results depending on the type of pigment concern being treated. For removing brown spots, your results will last for as long as you can avoid further sun damage that will trigger more melanin production in the skin.
Can You Make Results Last Longer?
Yes, you can absolutely make your results last longer. The best way to extend the results of your laser treatment is to observe the proper aftercare guidelines – most importantly, avoiding sun exposure. Sun damage is likely the cause for your brown spots, so by avoiding any additional sun damage, you will be able to help your results last longer.
Using quality skincare products that enhance the cellular turnover of your skin may also help you extend the radiant results you will experience after your treatment. Anti-aging skincare products are generally the best serums and moisturizers to use. Common ingredients will include Vitamin C, collagen, and retinol.
What Is the Best Sunscreen to Use?
As a general rule of thumb, all sunscreen is good sunscreen. But there are different types of sunscreen that you may want to explore, such as chemical sunscreens versus mineral sunscreens. But aside from these variants, it’s ideal if your sun protection is broad-spectrum, meaning it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
Your SPF should also be graded 30 or higher. People who have fair skin, sensitive skin, or skin that easily burns may want to wear SPF 40 or higher. And even people who have medium to dark skin tones also need to wear sunscreen, even if they are not at risk of skin burning; sun damage can happen regardless of whether sunburn occurs.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Because most laser treatments are universally safe for all skin tones and types, most people who have unwanted brown spots are likely good candidates for this treatment. Candidates should have healthy skin, meaning there are no current breakouts of acne, eczema, psoriasis, cold sores, or sunburns within 14 days of your appointment. If you are currently pregnant, you may not be qualified for this treatment.
You will need to attend a consultation to determine whether or not your skin concerns are eligible for laser treatments. During your consultation, our skin experts will analyze your skin concerns and gather relevant medical information. We will also discuss cosmetic treatments you have had in the past, particularly any treatments you may have had two to four weeks before your appointment.
Are Laser Treatments Your Only Options?
Laser treatments are by far the most effective means of removing brown spots, but they aren’t necessarily your only option. Depending on your skin type and the severity of your brown spots, our experts may explore additional treatment options with you. For example, prescription-strength creams for lightening the skin may be a good option for people who have certain skin types. Sometimes, chemical peels and microdermabrasion are also good treatment options.
Start Your Brown Spot Removal Today
Brown spots may be a predictable element of the natural aging process, but most people find them difficult to deal with – particularly dark spots that can’t be covered by cosmetics. However, there are many effective options for brown spot removal. Laser treatments are the most effective option and can be used on multiple skin tones, skin types, and dark spot severity. If you are interested in the long-lasting benefits of laser treatments for removing dark spots, contact Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA today to schedule your initial appointment.