You know that sunscreen protects your skin from the damaging rays of the sun, but even if you’ve been diligent about slathering up, you may notice those little brown dots and spots speckling your skin.
Rest assured that if you hadn’t used your sunscreen over the years, you’d be seeing a lot more of those spots today. But whether you have just a few or way too many, you don’t have to live with them.
Dr. Charles Hunt II at Alabama Vein & Restoration Medspa clears away the evidence of sun exposure and age every day for women and men throughout Alabama, where the sun is hard to avoid. These spots tend to show up on your face, neck, hands, feet, legs, chest, and shoulders — the places where the sun hits most frequently. Fortunately, there’s a safe and simple way to erase them with the ICON™ Laser System by Cynosure®.
Understanding pigmentation problems
Nobody’s skin is absolutely flawless, but some have a few more marks, discolorations, and scars than others. If you have small, brown flat spots here and there on your skin, it’s normal. What you’re looking at are clumps of melanin, your skin’s pigmentation.
When the sun hits your skin and the UV rays penetrate it, your body increases its melanin production as a defense. So technically, when you tan your skin, you’re actually amping up your skin’s protection system with a flood of melanin. But as you age, your melanin gathers in little clumps, which gives your skin a spotted look.
Melasma is another type of hyperpigmentation. Typically caused by hormone fluctuations, this condition is most common in women, especially on the faces of pregnant women, which is why it’s often called the mask of pregnancy.
To remove the spots and patches, you need to address those stores of melanin.
How lasers can banish your spots
Dr. Hunt trusts the ICON Laser System by Cynosure to safely and effectively treat your sun spots, age spots, melasma, and even freckles.
You can expect your treatment session to be quick and painless. After you and Dr. Hunt have agreed upon the area to be treated, he makes sure you’re comfortable and answers all your questions. Then, he hovers a small, handheld device over the parts of your skin with the discolorations.
The instrument emits laser energy that penetrates the outer layer of your skin without damaging it, and targets any concentrated areas of melanin. The contrast between your normal skin tone and the darker patches of pigmentation guide the laser energy to just the right spots. Those cells heat up and die and are eventually flushed out of your system.
Most of our patients feel no pain at all and very little minor discomfort. Afterward, you may notice redness and slight puffiness, but these typically fade away by the next day. Depending on the size of the treatment area, you may only need one session, but don’t be surprised if it takes two or three to get rid of larger spots and patches.
Are skin spots dangerous?
Hyperpigmentation like the sun spots we described above are not dangerous and they aren’t cancerous. They are benign, flat spots, often round or oval in shape, and they range in size from a small freckle to about a half an inch.
If you notice spots that you would describe differently, it’s wise to come see Dr. Hunt soon so he can evaluate it. Some signs to watch for include:
- Uneven borders
- Black in color
- Growing in size
Harmless pigmentations don’t have these characteristics, so if you notice change of any sort, please contact us at one of our five Alabama locations for a complete skin analysis.
But if you just have the very common, garden variety skin spots and you’d like to get rid of them, contact us today to set up an ICON laser session with Dr. Hunt. You can be spot-free by the holidays!