Treatments for Sun Spots

Brown spots are typically associated with aging and sun damage but they can also appear as a result of hormones, acne or genetics. For most 80% of brown spots are derived from sun damage. Because the sun is the key reason for brown spots they tend to show up on our faces first. As you age, don’t be surprise if they pop up in other places like hands, chest, shoulders and even legs – basically, any part of your body that has been exposed to the sun.

Most skin damage comes from the sun

I don’t think anyone is unaware of the ways to prevent sun damage. Wear sunscreen, protective clothing and/or minimize sun exposure. The reality is that the level of UV rays is increasing so wearing sunscreen has become an everyday necessity, According to Scripps Atmospheric Scientist Ray Weiss Even though the sun may feel hotter; he says it’s not that the sun is stronger, but rather the ozone layer is thinner meaning more UV rays are coming through. 

Sun Damage Prevention

  • High & effective SPF lotions that screens UVA is critical. More details on sunscreens that are safe and those to avoid due to chemicals from Dr. Axe.
  • Avoid the Sun. Nuff said? For me, this is easier said then done as I love being outside.
  • Wear Protective clothing. One of my favorites is to wear a good hat. I have to admit it can be tough to find one that is cute and not old lady looking. I have a wide brimmed hat that I got when in Mexico that is dressier and an outdoor safari type hat I got on a whitewater trip that is great for hikes or camping because it can roll up. Check out the top 10 from Globo Surfer.

Since preventive steps are important for new skin damage lets get into some of the treatments for any existing sun spots you may already have.

Sun Damage Treatment

  • Natural Cream & Oil Solutions

If you’re a DYI person there are literally hundreds of mixtures. We like the attached which uses lemon and almond to create a cream that will lighten dark spot. The downside of natural products is that they tend to take more time for results to show. If you want some specific recipes check here.

Lemon, Licorice & Bearberry help to lighten

If you want something natural but don’t want to make it yourself we’d recommend our SHINE. It’s 75% organic, vegan, free of soy, corn & gluten as well as paragons and sulfates. Each batch is hand mage in the USA.

SHINE brightens dark spots, fades blemishes, & moisturizes dry skin. Vitamin C from pomegranate, arbutus from bearberry, glabridin from licorice fade blemish marks & brighten dark spots, while vitamin E rich argan & jojoba oils moisturize. 

SHINE can be used in the morning and evening by just patting 4-5 drops onto your hands and face or as a spot treatment. The pomegranate, jojoba and argan base mimic the skin’s natural oil production, easily penetrating the skin, for a healthy, moisturized, and smooth finish.It also has an amazing Jasmine smell. Right now SHINE is 50% off at only $22.50. You can purchase here.

If you want natural options the following list of ingredients are known to be effective when lightening and evening your skin naturally.

  • Bearberry Extract 
  • Licorice Root Extract 
  • Kojic Acid 
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Niacinamide 
  • Citrus Extracts
  • Glycolic Acid 
  • Lactic Acid

If your ok with some ingredients that have processed chemicals in them then here is a list of Top gels & creams to consider. If you want details on the top 5 check out the smarter reviews. hI like how they break down their review in details with a list of pros and cons per product.

Whichever brand you purchase – some of the top ingredients to look for include:

Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) – works to prevent water loss and retain skin’s moisture. It also increases keratin. Keratin is an important protein in the epidermis that helps to form a protective layer on the skin which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

  • Overall Vitamin B3 improves the surface structure and reduces the look of wrinkles.
  • Kojic Dipalmitate – lightens visible sun damage, age spots, or scars. 
  • Cetearyl Olivate – reduces skin water loss, has a high moisturizing effect, is hypoallergenic and biomimics the skin.
  • Glycerine – is a very effective moisturizer and draws moisture to the surface layers of your skin.

Doctor Treatments

Chemical Peels – This is a treatment where acids and other ingredients are applied to the skin to remove the top layers with the intention of revealing new clearer “baby” skin. There are some possible side effects aside from the obvious slow stuffing off of the skin you should be aware of. Once you have shed your top layers of skin it is common that the new skin is either lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation).  

Cryotherapy – It is important to speak with your Dermatologist about any medications you’re taking and details on treatment preparation as well as recovery times and risks. Many facial brown spots can be successfully treated with liquid nitrogen, otherwise known as cryotherapy. The liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto the area, freezing the skin and turning it white. You will have pain, crusting and swelling as the area heals. While this treatment is generally effective you can run the risk of discoloration or scaring if not done properly. It typically costs between $50 – $100 power treatment. 

Laser Therapy – Typically costs $150 – $350 per session. You will need multiple sessions so could spend up to around $2,500. While laser is the most expensive treatment it is also the most effective. Intense pulsed light (IPL) is used to reduce and even eliminate uneven pigmentation to provide a more even appearance. Over time, the laser will heat up and destroy the darker pigmentations of the skin. It is important to seek a professional with experience as you can scar your skin if not done properly. 

Want more information? Check out this article from Self Magazine.

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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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