Brown Spots: What They Are and How You Can Treat Them

Brown Spots: What They Are and How You Can Treat Them

Posted by Nicole, Aesthetic Front Desk Specialist on on Jun 24th 2024

What are the little annoying brown spots that keep showing up on your face, neck and hands? Brown spots can be a number of different skin lesions, some of these require medical treatment plans. Until you know what these spots are, it is best to schedule a skin exam with your American Academy of Dermatology affiliated dermatologist. 

The brown spots I am going to focus on today are called Solar Lentigines. These spots are also called "liver spots" and  are they form as a result of overexposure to the UV-rays. These spots will show on areas of the body that are constantly exposed to the sun such as the face, neck, chest, arms, and hands. This is because when the skin is exposed to UV-rays without protection, it causes cells in your skin called Melanocytes, to over-produce melanin, the natural pigment that gives us our unique skin coloration. They are not painful or dangerous for your body, but are a sign that you are not protecting your skin enough from the sun, which can lead to skin cancer in some cases. So even though these spots are not dangerous, they should be taken seriously. 

Now, what can you do to lighten or eliminate these spots? There are various options when it comes to topical treatments that will help to reduce the look of sunspots. Retinol (a form of Vitamin A) is a great form of treatment of brown spots that can be used long term. It is so effective because unlike melanin inhibiting ingredients alone, it can reach all the way down to the dermis of your skin where it promotes epidermal cell turnover. This means that it is going to speed up the process of cell turnover in your skin, helping the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and brown spots. It works so well with brown spots because once it is in your skin, it addresses damaged cells to make them work more efficiently. 

After Retinol, we have other ingredients and treatments that will help to brighten the skin. These ingredients are Niacinamide, Arbutin, Vitamin C, and Azelaic Acid. These are good options to gradually and gently brighten your skin. In office chemical peels, like our Renew and Restore Peels available at Vanguard Aesthetics, combine some of these topical ingredients with prescription strength Retinoic Acid, Arbutase, and an at-home post-care skin care system to safely address hyperpigmentation in all skin tones.

The Limelight IPL laser is also great for addressing brown spots. IPL is a treatment that sends pulses of light energy through the skin which causes gentle heating of the skin cells, breaking them down, thus reducing the appearance of brown spots. This method works best if done three times in increments of 4 to 6 weeks, but varies from person to person. 

All of these options are wonderful and very helpful when addressing brown spots as a result of sun damage. But the most important thing to remember is that they work best when paired with good skin care/protection routines. None of these treatments will help anything if you don't wear sunscreen routinely, they will reduce the appearance of already damaged skin, but they will not prevent future damage. 

Before deciding which topical solution or treatment is best suited for you, pick out a great sunscreen that will fit seamlessly into your everyday skin care routine! 

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