Also known as liver spots, sunspots, or solar lentigines, age spots are flat, oval areas of increased pigmentation that are usually tan or brown, but may also be black. These dark spots typically show up on areas of skin that are most exposed to ultraviolet light, which is why they’re most often seen on the backs of hands. Age spots may also appear on your face, shoulders, upper back, or the tops of your feet.
At the cellular level, age spots begin to develop when overactive pigment cells are exposed to ultraviolet light, causing them to accelerate the production of melanin. After years of sun exposure, this extra melanin becomes clumped, forming visible dark spots on the surface of your skin. Because age spots are caused by cumulative sun damage, they’re most common in adults older than 50.
Although genuine age spots are usually benign marks that don’t require medical attention, a dermatologist should look at any spots that have changed in appearance. Spots that are especially dark, increase in size rapidly, have irregular borders, or are itchy and tender may actually be melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. If you have dark spots like these or any other questionable-looking spots, head in to see one of the doctors at Easton Dermatology Associates as soon as possible.
Laser resurfacing treatments are a non-invasive, safe, and effective way to minimize or reverse the damaging effects of long-term sun exposure. The team at Easton Dermatology Associates uses the Icon™ Aesthetic System by CynoSure® to diminish the appearance of age spots. The technology works by delivering focused light beams into the deepest layers of your skin, where they target excess pigment and break it apart into tiny particles, which are absorbed by your immune system.
In addition to breaking up the pigment clumps that form age spots, laser energy also stimulates collagen growth to help tighten and refresh underlying skin. The Icon laser treats age spots without harming any surrounding tissues.
During the treatment, you’ll wear eye shields to protect your corneas and retinas from the laser, which emits ultrashort pulses as it’s passed over the age spots on your skin. These pulses feel like small rubber bands snapping against your skin, but the sensation is mild and generally well tolerated. While the average treatment is about 30 minutes, the procedure can last anywhere from 15-90 minutes, depending on the extent of your skin damage. Optimal results are typically achieved through multiple sessions scheduled over the course of a few weeks.
At Easton Dermatology Associates, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.