A lot of people have age spots in Palo Alto—blame those sunny days and subpar sunscreen for the smattering of hyperpigmentation that makes you look older than you are. Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care has all of the treatments and products needed to get rid of age spots and reclaim clear, youthful skin. However, the term “age spots” can actually mean quite a few things. Some age spots are harmless while others might need to be checked by a dermatologist. Let’s take a look at the various types of hyperpigmentation and how to tell what next steps should be.
Age spots used to be known as liver spots because of the color (in some places they are still called liver spots). What age spots really are is a type of hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage. However, oftentimes this sun damage occurred years or even decades before the spots appear. Sun damage is both instantaneous and cumulative. The first sign of sun damage is a sun burn in some cases, but the full impact of UV exposure might not show up until much later. Simply put, older people have more age spots because they’ve spent many more years being exposed to the sun.
Other Types of Hyperpigmentation
Freckles and moles are other forms of hyperpigmentation. Many people are born with freckles and/or moles, but we develop more as we get older—often due to UV damage. While freckles are often considered cute and moles are typically thought of as just something everyone has (with some even dubbed beauty marks), you can take some steps to minimize these usually harmless spots.
Melasma is a particularly stubborn form of hyperpigmentation that very few people want sticking around. The good news is that melasma usually goes away by itself, and lasers can help speed up this process. Melasma occurs on a deeper level of the skin and is often triggered by hormone fluctuations. That’s how it got the nickname the “mask of pregnancy,” and it often presents exactly where a mask would be (though it can happen anywhere). Melasma can be virtually any color, but most often looks like a gray spot.
At the most serious level, sun damage can lead to skin cancer. There are various types of skin cancers, with melasma being the deadliest. Skin cancer requires annual “skin checks” from a dermatologist, but you can also keep an eye on these spots yourself. How can you tell if you’re dealing with “just” age spots in Palo Alto and not skin cancer? Only a doctor can tell you for certain, but keep an eye out for the ABCDEs of cancer. Healthy spots are usually not asymmetrical (A), they have even and clear borders (B), they are uniform in color (C), their diameter is no bigger than the head of a pencil eraser (D), and they don’t evolve much over time (E).
Lasers and energy-based therapies are the most effective treatments to remove non-cancerous age spots. The exact laser for you will depend on the type of age spot and your skin. Popular options include IPL or BBL, Fraxel Dual, and Clear + Brilliant. We have lasers for every skin tone and type. To optimize results, medical-grade skin care is also a fantastic tool. These products contain the highest concentration of active ingredients to achieve a variety of skin goals, including the lightening of hyperpigmentation.
Preventing Future Age Spots
Most people start developing age spots once they reach certain milestone birthdays, and while you can always erase age spots with the right treatments and products it’s ideal to not need to use them in the first place. It’s never too late to upgrade your skin care regimen and start using a proper, high-quality sunscreen. We’ll match you to the best medical-grade sunscreen to keep your skin healthy and clear.
Are your age spots giving away your age? Are you using makeup to cover them up and wish you could undo the damage of sunburns and tans of years past? Now you can! To learn more about options for removing age spots in Palo Alto, schedule your complimentary consultation today. Call Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care at (650) 565-8683 or simply complete the online form for the quickest response.