What Are Sunspots and How Can I Get Rid of Them?
Sunspots are the small, darker areas that show up on the skin after prolonged sun exposure. They can be different sizes, but you’ll see them most often in the areas that are most exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. Sunspots show up earliest and most often on fair-skinned people over 40, but they can appear on anyone who has been exposed to the sun over a period of time.
Melasma can look similar to sunspots, but these spots are a bit different. They also come about from sun exposure but can also appear from a change in hormones. Melasma occurs in many cases during pregnancy or after oral contraceptive (birth control) use. Melasma most often appears on the forehead, cheeks and upper lip. It’s important to note that traditional sun spot treatments like CO2 LASER resurfacing can make melasma worse.
True sunspots and melasma aren’t dangerous, but many want to be rid of these spots on their skin. Sunspots can be prevented (or for melasma, prevented from worsening) in the first place by using sunscreen and protecting the skin from sun exposure and tanning beds. But once the spots appear, if you want to get rid of them, there are treatments we can do to achieve that.
How can sunspots and melasma be treated?
Sunspots can be treated by laser treatments such as fractional CO2 resurfacing, V beam, IPL (intense pulsed light treatment), a medium depth Chemical Peel called the VI peel, microneedling. These treatments are effective at rejuvenating the skin and diminishing sunspots.
Melasma can require different treatments. A VI Peel or Microneedling with Tranexamic Acid can diminish these spots and even out your skin tone and color again. However, it is extremely important that broad spectrum sunscreen (like our product, Defend) is used every day and reapplied throughout the day to maintain the result of these treatments and prevent worsening of Melasma.
For most of these treatments, a series of treatments (usually 3-5) is required, along with daily sunscreen, for optimal results.
What about topical treatments for sunspots?
There are three topical treatments that can work to reduce sunspots: Retin-A, Arbutase, and Hydroquinone. Arbutase has a similar effect to Hydroquinone without the risk. Hydroquinone is a very powerful treatment but can make sunspots and melasma worse if used inappropriately or without the expert monitoring of Dr. Weber.
Do home remedies like lemon juice, milk or buttermilk remove sunspots?
Unfortunately, no. These dark spots need a clinical treatment to be made to disappear.
Dr. Stephen Weber’s practice is focused on cosmetic facial plastic surgery, laser skin resurfacing, and facial injectable treatments. If you are looking for the right way to get rid of dark spots, whether sunspots or melasma, schedule an appointment with Dr. Weber to discuss your goals and determine the best treatment plan.