The ageing process is just one of those things that you can neither run nor hide from. You may not be able to turn back the clock but thanks to modern laser technology used at The Ryder Clinic in St Albans, Hertfordshire we can help you can combat many of the physical signs of ageing. Age spots are a problem that is associated with ageing skin. They manifest in the form of black, brown or grey spots on the surface of the skin and we can help remove age spots so please contact us so we can discuss your personal skin condition in more detail.
These spots are caused by sun damage and are sometimes called liver spots, though they are not indicative of liver problems. There are many creams on the market that claim to help the spots to fade, however these treatments do not deal with the root cause of the problem. This is where cosmetic laser therapy comes in, laser therapy treats the condition by rejuvenating this skin and thus dealing with the underlying problem of damaged skin.
Making an accurate diagnosis
Age spots most commonly occur on the face, neck, shoulders and arms, as these are the areas that tend to receive the most sun exposure. The spots are flat and have a regular outline. They vary in term of colour and size. Sometimes raised lesions occur in addition to the flat spots.
These lesions are known as seborrheic keratosis and they tend to have a waxy or shiny appearance. Lesions can occur on the spots itself or in the surrounding area. The lesions are not harmful in anyway but tend to be unpleasant in their appearance.
It is important to recognise that age spots can sometimes be misdiagnosed. Melasma and melanoma are but two skin conditions that often go diagnosed because people think that they just have age spots. Melasma is a hormonal problem that causes excessive production of the melanin which results in dark spots on the skin.
The condition is fairly common among pregnant women as well as women on hormone therapy or even birth control. Melanoma or skin cancer is a far more dangerous condition which sometimes results in spotting on the skin.
Unlike age spots, spots caused by melanoma are irregular in shape and relatively larger in size. They also grow at a faster rate. In order to determine if you have age spots, it is advised that you seek a diagnosis from a dermatologist who would be specially trained in diagnosing and treating skin conditions.
Understanding your treatment options
Once you have an accurate diagnosis, there are a number of treatment options that you can consider; these range from over the counter creams to cosmetic procedures like chemical peels. Over the counter creams usually contain hydroquinone which is breaks down the build-up of melanin. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion work by removing the surface layer of skin and are generally more suited to lighter and smaller age spots.
IPL – the way of the future
Laser therapy is becoming an increasingly popular treatment option because of the high success rates and the positive impact the treatment can have on your overall complexion. The laser therapy used to treat age spots is known as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment. It is sometimes called photo-rejuvenation as the treatment actually helps the skin repair itself.
IPL therapy is a fairly simple and safe procedure. It involves using the heat from a laser to breakdown the deposits of melanin in the skin. Once fragmented, the melanin can then be absorbed by the body, thus reducing the appearance of age spots. IPL also stimulates the production of collagen and the skin’s recovery process. The treatment has proven to be highly effective in treating age spots. (See our earlier blog post for more information.)
Fast, functional and fabulous
An IPL treatment session is relatively painless as a local anaesthetic can be applied to the area before treatment. There are few side effects associated with IPL treatment, though some people do experience temporary swelling or redness after a session. A session can be done in under an hour and is performed in an outpatient setting.
Apart from staying out of the sun, you can pretty much go back to your normal routine right after a session. Most people see an immediate improvement in their skin and experience the full results within four to six weeks.