Sunspots are a summer bummer because just as our moods brighten with the warmer weather, our spots get darker. These spots are a normal part of the aging process, but many of us remember when our skin's tone was even and dream of regaining our youthful good looks. Fortunately, we don't have to live with sunspots if we don't want to. They're treatable either at home with dermatologist-approved products or with cosmetic dermatology treatments, like the IPL Photofacial. 

What are Sunspots?
Sunspots are concentrated areas of melanin coloring caused by UV exposure. They're also known as age spots, liver spots, and hyperpigmentation. This harmless color develops to protect our skin from the sun. It turns up in areas that get the most sun exposure, like the face, back, chest, shoulders, arms, and hands.

Are Sunspots Dangerous? 
Although they're usually harmless and considered a cosmetic issue, sunspots can turn into a medical problem if they become cancerous, so it's essential to keep an eye on them. Tell your doctor if your sunspots bleed, turn an unusual color, develop an irregular border, get bigger, or turn black.

Why do People Want to Get Rid of Them?
Sunspots usually appear in middle age but can start to show up at a younger age, especially for people with fair skin who get an above-average amount of sun exposure. Some people feel that sunspots are unattractive and make them look older than they are and look for ways to get rid of them. Another thing that some people may not know is that sunspots are precursors for skin cancer. By getting rid of them, you reduce yous chances of existing skin cancer worsening.

How to Lighten Sun Spots
If you don't like your sunspots, you can fade them at home with medical-grade skincare or with IPL, or Photofacial. IPL is similar to a laser treatment but the light is less concentrated. The light treatment targets brown and red spots in the dermis and causes the pigment to break down into smaller particles, before rising to the surface of the skin to flake away.

As far as using medical-grade skincare to minimize spots, opt for some that contain natural ingredients like aloe vera, licorice extract, vitamins C and E, and kojic acid, a fungus-derived compound. Other products tackle hyperpigmentation with acids and retinoids. Many combine a variety of these ingredients for optimal results.

The Best of West Dermatology Skincare
West Dermatology's Skin Softening Body Lotion contains 15% glycolic acid that'll fade the spots on your back, shoulders, arms, and hands. For your delicate face, we recommend SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum or go all out with SkinCeuticals Even Discoloration Regimen Gift Set that's on sale now. 

When Can I Expect Improvement?
It takes a lot of time and patience to fade dark spots at home, but you'll get there if you keep at it. Expect to see some results within a few weeks and full results within several months of diligent use of the products. 

Protect Yourself With Sunscreen 
Sunscreen is more important than ever while you're going through the process of lightening your sunspots. Retinol and glycolic acid make your skin especially sensitive to the sun. You'll want to limit your sun exposure and maximize your sun protection, remembering to also layer on hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves. 

Professional Treatments
If you want the spots gone at lighting speed, West Dermatology offers IPL or Intense Pulsed Light treatments in our office that'll brighten your skin and your day. This non-invasive cosmetic procedure uses light energy to break down hyperpigmented skin cells. It's safe to use both on the face and all over the body. Patients can expect to see dramatic results several weeks after treatment as the body naturally eliminates the damaged cells. Most patients need several rounds of IPL treatments to see the best results possible, but this varies based on their skin type and treatment plan. 

Have questions about the skincare products mentioned above or about our IPL treatment? Our board-certified dermatologists are here to help! Feel free to request an appointment with us anytime.

Join us at one of our in-clinic IPL Events from May 3 - 14th.
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Rachelle Riley