What are freckles, brown spots or age spots?
Brown spots, also known as “liver spots” are flat, brown-black spots that usually appear on the skin in sun-exposed areas of the body. Despite their nickname, they have nothing to do with the liver or liver function.
Brown spots (or more accurately – age spots) typically develop in people with a light complexion, but they can also be seen in those with darker skin. Age spots can be flat, oval or irregularly shaped and have increased pigmentation and are normally light brown, black or gray in colour
Age spots may range from freckle-size to more than a half inch (1 cm) in diametre. Age spots are sometimes grouped together, making them more prominent.
Here is a short video demonstrating laser removal of freckles or brown spots that occur from sun exposure. They immediately turn white after treatment and then the freckle falls off the skin in about 5 days after the treatment. Usually one treatment is required but each person is unique.
What are the causes of age spots?
The pigment in the upper layer of skin (epidermis) that gives your skin its normal colour is called melanin. UV light accelerates the production of melanin, creating a tan which helps protect deeper layers of skin from UV rays.
Age or brown spots are normally caused by years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. The use of commercial tanning lamps and tanning beds can also contribute to the development of brown spots. These will be most noticeable in areas that were heavily exposed like the back of your hands, top of your feet, your face as well as your shoulders and back.
On areas of the skin that have years of frequent and prolonged sun exposure, age spots appear when melanin becomes “clumped” or is produced in particularly high concentrations in one area. In addition to sun exposure, simply becoming older can cause the extra production of melanin.
Your genetic makeup may also play a role in how susceptible you are to the development of brown spots.
It is interesting to note that over time pigmented spots usually decrease in number with advancing age.
When should I see my doctor about my age spots?
You may not appreciate the way in which they look, but brown spots are usually harmless and don’t require medical care. However, your doctor should evaluate spots that are dark or have changed in appearance, because these changes can be signs of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer.
It is always best to have any new skin changes evaluated by a trained physician, especially if these brown spots or lesions:
- are newly changed or darkly coloured
- are changing in size
- have an irregular border
- have an unusual combination of colours
- are accompanied by itching, redness, tenderness or bleeding
What Are the Treatments for Brown Spots?
There are numerous treatments available for brown spots, take a look at the links below for more information. Dr. Crippen can determine what treatment is right for you.
Make a consultation with a member of our staff today if you would like to discuss your age spots and how we can treat them.
Quick Answers About Brown Spots
Are Brown Spots Treated with Lasers?
Yes. Several of the treatments listed in the treatments above are laser treatments, and they will be considered and used if the brown spot we’re treating requires it. Lasers are a flexible treatment option that can manage spots of many different sizes and colors.
How Many Treatments Are Necessary to Remove a Brown Spot?
It may take anywhere from one treatment to several to remove most brown spots. The number of treatments may depend on the size, age and color of the spot, as well as the strength of the treatment you’ve decided to pursue.
How Long Will It Take to Recover from a Brown Spot Removal?
Our treatments are mostly non-invasive, and we don’t use them at an intensity that would require you to bandage any area. After any of our treatments, you’ll be able to return to your regular work. All that you’re required to do is keep out of direct sunlight and manage minor tenderness and irritability of your skin for anywhere from 3-10 days.
How Do I Get Rid of Sunspots and Seborrheic Keratosis?
Sunspots and sk lesions are two completely different entities. To remove “sun spots” one is usually referring to lentigos which are flat brown pigmentations in the skin on sun exposed body parts. For these kind of benign lesions, IPL treatments as well as other laser treatments can be beneficial. For seborrheic keratosis, a combination of surgical excision and laser therapy is usually recommended.
What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Facial Brown Spots?
Laser treatments can be very effective for flat brown lengitos on the face. IPL or another kind of laser can be used with minimal downtime and good long lasting results. They can however return at any time and more quickly with sun exposure.
What Do Dermatologists/Cosmetic Surgeons Recommend for Age Spots?
Age spots come in all sorts of varieties and it really depends on the patient’s particular situation. We usually use a combination of laser and surgical excision methods.
What's Causing the Brown Spots on My Face? How Can I Stop It?
Decreasing your exposure to the sun and UV light rays will help slow down their progression. Using a good sunscreen can also be quite useful to lessen the appearance of brown spots on the face.
What Is the Average Cost to Remove Brown Spots?
The cost varies depending on the situation and the types of lesions to be removed or improved. We usually recommend a formal consultation to give patients an accurate quote as this is the best way to assess each individual situation.
What Are the Best Laser Treatments for Darker Skin? Brown Spots, Lines and Skin Tightening?
These are widely different treatment for various skin types and issues so there is a long list of possible treatment. For darker skin, the treatments can range from lasers for colour, texture and more. The best overall treatment for these skin problems is the CO2 laser treatment, our DermaPeel. It address all of these at the same time however there is some downtime to the treatment as we are removing skin so there is some redness and swelling for about one week.
What Is the Best Effective Treatment to Remove Brown Age Spots on Medium Brown Skin Tone?
Removing freckles or pigmentation on darker skin types can be tricky however certain treatments can be effective. Non ablative fraxel or QS lasers can work for pigmentation depending on the skin type and ethnicity of the patient.
Does Sun Damage Cause All Brown Spots?
Mostly yes, but certainly not all of them. It also depends on what is referred to as brown spots. Some age spots are brown in colour and have little to do with sun exposure, however most pigmentation in the skin results from years of accumulated UV exposure.
How to Remove Brown Spots from Face?
The most common treatment is IPL for facial lentigos, however Q-switched lasers can also be very effective in the right patient.