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Sun Damage Be Gone

Worried about sun damage? Do you spend a lot of time in the sun? Or wear reflective Aviator sunglasses? Do you forget to apply sunscreen, especially on your left side when driving?

If you answered yes to any of those questions and are over the age of 25, you probably have at least one of those flat, dark spots on your face that we call sun spots, liver spots, age spots, melanin clusters and for the very technical, solar lentigines or solar keratosis.

For now, we’ll refer to them as sunspots simply because they appear on the parts of skin that have been overly exposed to UV rays.  Your skin naturally produces melanin to protect itself against harmful rays, and this usually results in a beautiful, even tan, but with increased sun exposure, extra pigment can gather in one area and leave a blotchy, dark spot. If these spots remain untreated, they will eventually grow larger.

To reduce your chances of getting them in the first place, yes you already know what to do – apply broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day.

But since we all forget to do that and sometimes being in the sun is just unavoidable, here are the five treatment options for toning them down.

NOTE: Always have spots checked by a board-certified dermatologist or facial plastic surgeon before taking steps to get them removed.

Retin-A – For mild sun spots detected early, a medical-grade Retin-A cream is a great exfoliator and will disperse the Melanin, making yours skin look more even. Retin-A also has photo protective antioxidant that helps to prevent future dark spots.

Hydroquinone – When the spots are a little darker, you may want to add a skin-bleaching serum that contains hydroquinone to your nightly regimen. Put it directly onto the discolored areas to lighten them. You must always apply sunscreen when using hydroquinone and there is a risk of over-lightening the area.

Microneedling – Microneedling reduces sunspots by stimulating your body’s natural production of collagen and elastin which leaves your skin looking fresher, thicker, and plumper. Usually, 3-6 treatments will be needed.

IPL – Intense Pulsed Light, or photodynamic therapy, uses multiple wavelengths to break up hyperpigmented areas. Usually, 2 – 6 treatments will be recommended and should be performed by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

Laser Treatments – Erbium and CO2 – The gold-standard and most aggressive treatment of sunspots is using ablative lasers to burn off pigmented areas. At Mittelman Plastic Surgery Center, we use the erbium laser for small patches of hyperpigmentation and the CO2 laser when treating the whole face.

Let us know if you have any questions about sunspots, call us at 650-941-8888

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“I have been going to Dr. Mittelman for various procedures since 1999. He is personable, easy to talk to and absolutely sane about what to do and when. I appreciate his calm advice as much as i do his surgical skills, which are_the best_ A special note about the staff – they are considerate and…”

Hank B.

“I had my upper eyelids done by Dr. Mittelman. I was expecting improvement, but I think the results are fabulous. Dr. Mittelman and I talked a lot about what I was hoping to get out of the surgery and what he thought was possible. I had some wrinkles and heavy “hooding” that made me look…”

Mary S.

“Over the years I have had different procedures done by Dr. Mittelman. I prefer to have the smaller surgeries as I go along the way, they are less invasive and provide more natural results. Dr. Mittelman has delivered excellence in professionalism each and every single time. H is an excellent plastic surgeon, more like a…”

Jaqueline D.

“Dr. Mittelman, the master of administering BOTOX with fabulous results! His staff is super friendly and their office is extremely diligent in providing a safe, sterile, and clean environment, particularly during these unprecedented times – COVID-19”

KM from Monte Sereno

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