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Tate Laser and Aesthetics

5 Most Effective Ways to Eliminate Sunspots

Sunspots, although not dangerous, are often thought of as an ugly sign of aging. If you want to erase these discolored spots on your skin, learn about several remedies that can diminish or eliminate them.

Sunspots, liver spots, age spots, solar lentigines. There are many names for the brown spots that appear mainly as you get older, often on people with fair skin. Although they’re benign, it’s perhaps because of their association with aging that sunspots are seen as blemishes that should be removed.

Because sunspots are so common, there is an abundance of ways to treat them. Both at-home and professional methods exist, and they run the gamut from merely fading the spots to fully removing them.

If you’re self-conscious about sunspots or think you may develop them, see a doctor before starting treatment. Dr. Jason Tate can examine your skin to confirm that your sunspots are benign, and he can work with you to create a custom treatment plan that fits your skin tone and goals.

What are sunspots?

Sunspots are caused by overactive pigment cells. When you spend time in the sun, your body comes into contact with UV light. To protect against sunburn and other symptoms of prolonged UV light exposure, the pigment cells produce melanin.

Most of the time, this melanin results in a tan. Over time, however, certain areas produce more melanin than expected. Clumps of melanin occur, and the area becomes permanently darker than the rest of your skin. People with fair skin and those who use tanning beds are at a higher risk of developing sunspots because of their light-sensitive skin or repeated exposure to harsh UV light.

Preventing sunspots

If you’re fair-skinned, you can head off sunspots with basic sun safety. To start, avoid being out in the sun from 10am-3pm, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. When you do go outside, apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF, and re-apply at least every two hours — more if you’re sweating or swimming.

5 ways to treat sunspots

A quick tip: Before trying any type of treatment, visit your doctor to confirm you’re dealing with sunspots and not something more serious, such as skin cancer.

1. Natural at-home remedies

Do-it-yourself treatments can’t totally remove your sunspots, but they may be successful in fading or lightning them. To start, try increasing vitamins C and E in your diet. Both protect your skin from further damage and may help lighten sunspots. There also are many different natural on-the-skin treatments, including aloe vera, licorice extract, apple cider vinegar, green tea, milk, and onion juice.

2. Laser resurfacing

Your doctor uses a wand-like device to remove the skin of the sunspot layer by layer, until the spot is gone. Healing takes 10-21 days, and the skin that grows back in its place matches your normal skin tone. Treatment courses and session times are dependent on skin tone and the desired amount of removal.

3. Intense pulsed light (IPL)

This treatment uses light energy to heat and destroy melanin cells, removing the sunspot with little to no pain. An IPL session takes less than 30 minutes, and the treatment can be done as many times as necessary for removal of all unsightly spots.