Pigmentation Marks Treatment
at Woodbury Dental and Laser Clinic in Kent
Laser therapy – Laser therapy effectively destroys the extra melanocytes that create the skin’s dark pigment without damaging the skin’s surface. Laser treatments for age spots are usually done over several sessions. The age spots are expected to fade over a few weeks or months after the laser therapy.
Medications – Age spots can gradually fade over several months with the help of prescription bleaching creams (hydroquinone) used alone, or with retinoids (tretinoin) and a mild steroid. Over-the-counter (nonprescription) fade creams containing kojic acid or glycolic acid may slightly improve the appearance of the age spots. It is highly recommended to use protection from the sun’s harmful rays (or to stay away from direct sun exposure) when using these medications.
Dermabrasion – Dermabrasion involves the sanding down or planing of the surface layer of the skin with a rapidly rotating brush. This procedure removes the surface of the skin, and encourages a new layer to grow to take its place.
Freezing (cryotherapy) – Cryotherapy involves the application of liquid nitrogen or another freezing agent to the age spots to destroy the extra pigment; when the area heals, the skin will appear lighter. Freezing is usually used on a single or small grouping of age spots. Though effective, this procedure poses a slight risk of permanent scarring or discoloration.
Chemical peel – Age spots can gradually be faded with the help of a light or medium chemical peel, but several treatments are necessary before visible results can be seen. A chemical peel involves the application of an acid to the age spots; the acid will burn the outer layer of your skin. As the skin peels, new skin (without the age spots) will form and take the place of the layer that has been burned by the acid.
When to Seek Medical Attention
- Age spots are usually harmless and will not require medical attention – even if they look unattractive on your skin. However, your doctor should thoroughly check spots that are dark or have changed in appearance because these can be signs of melanoma -a serious form of skin cancer.
- It is best to have any new skin changes evaluated by a doctor, especially if a spot or lesion:
- Has an irregular border
- Is darkly pigmented
- Has unusual colours
- Is rapidly increasing in size