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Sun Spots, Freckles, Brown Spots

Brown spots on the skin often are perceived as a sign of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. Freckles are melanin deposits, and although cute as a kid, are looking more like age spots. Sun spots, freckles, liver spots all are technically known as “pigmented lesions” and form when melanin concentrates in one area of the skin. Usually as a result of overexposure to UV rays from the sun.

Highly effective laser treatment options

A variety of advanced laser treatment options offer a proven effective method to permanently remove most brown age spots, freckles, birth marks, Nevus of Ota, and other unwanted pigmented lesions. The laser light is absorbed by the pigment causing it to shatter and breakdown in micro-particles. The body’s own natural processes are then able to remove the shattered pigment, resulting in lightening and disappearance of the dark lesion. Most pigmented lesions disappear after 1-2 treatments; deeper lesions may require more treatments.

What to Expect

At Surgical Dermatology and Laser Center there are several laser options for treating your pigmented lesions. We will discuss these with you at the time of your consultation. During the procedure, light energy from the laser vibrates and shatters the pigment into micro-particles that are then engulfed and removed by the body’s own natural mechanisms. It feels similar to snaps of rubber bands, followed by a warm sensation. Any discomfort can be greatly diminished or eliminated by applying a topical anesthetic cream 30 minutes prior to treatment, or administering a stronger local anesthetic to the site.

A temporary whiting or graying of the lesion will occur immediately, followed by redness similar to a sunburn. Post-treatment redness may last for 2-7 days depending on the extent and severity of the pigments lesions. Make-up may be applied immediately following the procedure. The pigmented lesion themselves usually gradually darken over 7-10 days following the procedure before they flake off or fade, leaving fresh, normal-looking skin.

Redness and blood vessels

Nonablative lasers can minimize or completely remove redness and broken capillaries on the face, as well as veins and hemangiomas on the body. These laser procedures are no-downtime procedures that improve the appearance of the skin. The laser produces an intense but gentle burst of light that heats the targeted superficial blood vessels almost instantaneously and so precisely that normal surrounding tissue is hardly affected. Therefore, the light sources may improve the appearance of many lesions while leaving the surrounding skin and skin pigment intact.

Other treatment methods, including electrocautery and injections with various substances (sclerotherapy) can also be used. Unlike some other forms of treatment, vascular lesion lasers reduce the risk of scarring or changes in skin texture.

What to Expect

These lasers produce a bright beam of light which heats up and destroys the blood vessels that make up the vascular lesions or that are contained within sun damaged skin, scar or stretch mark without damaging the surrounding tissues. You may experience mild discomfort similar to being stung by a mosquito bite or rubber band snaps. A topical numbing cream is available, but for most procedures the discomfort is so minimal that no anesthesia or pain medication is needed.

Results of the laser surgery vary from person to person depending on the type of the lesion, size of the affected area, the color of the skin, and the depth to which these vessels extend beneath the skin’s surface. Multiple laser treatments may be necessary to destroy the vascular lesion. Most telangiectasias or spider veins require only 1-3 laser treatments, whereas port-wine stains require up to 12 treatments for significant lesional lightening. There will be some temporary pink or red discoloration of the skin at or around the treatment site and may also notice some crusting. This usually fades in 1-3 days. Some patients may also experience a temporary brown discoloration of the skin for a few months following treatment.