The title of this blog post is a common question that we get asked regularly at both Maine Laser Skin Care offices. If we don't get asked this particular question, we get questions along those lines such as "What are these spots?" or "How and why did they get here?".
Despite being known as "age spots", the normal aging process is not entirely to blame for their appearance. Some people's teens and twenties were sent worshipping the sun, unfortunately resulted in damage to the tender skin of the upper chest.
Within the upper chest area, these spots develop slowly over time with age and cumulative sun exposure. Many people who develop these spots are frustrated. Even though they claim to have been more aware of the bad effects of the sun and more vigilant in the use of sunscreens, the spots still seem to appear.
Fortunately for the prior sun worshipper, there are techniques and treatments that can reduce the appearance of old sun damage, especially in the chest area. They include the following:
1.) In-office chemical peels- This category of treatment uses a variety of acids of varying strengths to remove the top layer of dead skin, which is overly pigmented, and thereby improve skin tone. At-home peels are generally not strong enough to be very effective, although they will help some. Additionally, exfoliation of the discolored skin results in increased cell turnover and general smoothing of the skin in the area treated.
2.) In-office laser treatments- Focused laser light on the sun-damage spots targets the pigment within the cells. The energy delivered by the laser to the pigmented cells heats up the uppermost layers of the skin resulting in their more rapid turnover and also stimulates new cell and collagen production. In laser treated areas, with elimination of the pigmented cells, the skin appears more youthful with more even skin tone.
3.) Ongoing prevention with sunscreen- The best treatment remains to protect your current skin and prevent further sun damage. Once you have made the investment to undo old damage, you need to prevent new damage with sunscreen of at least SPF30 or higher making sure to reapply regularly if you will be out in the direct sun throughout the day. A trick to remember to reapply is that the SPF tells you how many minutes you can be in direct sun before reapplying. Therefore, if you have SPF 30, you need to reapply sunscreen after 30 minutes, etc.
If you have age or sun spots of concern, call either of our offices for a free consultation. We will examine your skin, take photos, and outline a plan of care fitted to your individual needs and desires.
We have 2 convenient locations: in Scarborough at 438 US Route ((207) 303-0125), and in Augusta at 12 Shuman Ave near Charlie's Motor Mall ((207) 873-2158). Our mission remains to Beautify Maine One Face (And Body) At A Time.