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5206 N Scottsdale Rd
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

(480) 948-5045

Sundamage Meets Its Match

By Dr. Susan Van Dyke
June 1, 2010

Brown spots, liver spots, age spots, whatever you call them, they are not usually thought of as a sign of beauty.  They are a sure sign of sun damage though, and age of course.  Lindsay Lohan started out as a cute freckle face kid.  Among other unhealthy habits she seems to like the sun, the result is not so cute.  In more recent photos the spots are gone!  And it is not just the make up.

How did she do it?  More important:  how can regular folk get rid of the earliest unattractive signs on sundamage and age?

Well, there is always the bleaching cream. The most popular and most effective available in the US remain hydroquinone.  It is actually not a bleach at all, it is a chemical that inhibits the ability of the pigment cell to create pigment.  Please note, it only reduces pigment, it does not eliminate it . The problem is that it can take months and results are moderate.

Various methods have been used for centuries, perhaps the first recorded is the lactic acid (milk)  baths that Cleopatra took. I imagine that living in Egypt without sunscreen caused some pretty impressive brown spots even on the legendary beauty (the Amazon’s version of Lindsay).

Freezing or burning brown spots is still commonly done and in some situations, is still a good approach if you only have one or two spots.

When the spots are all more numerous chemical peels including lactic acid, glycolic acid , and various other acids have been and still are used..  The light peels are great for maintaining but not great for producing improvement.  Deep peels are just too toxic and are rarely done in the US for simple age spots. The medium peels (not too strong, not too weak) have been replaced for the most part with the laser.

Lasers have been around for decades (5 to be exact) but it has been the last 15 years that the cosmetic use has skyrocketed.  The newest addition to the arsenal against age is the FRAXEL DUAL.

Fraxel is the gold standard in what is called “non-ablative skin resurfacing”.  Essentially, it removes sundamage and stimulates collagen to combat scars and wrinkles. Down time is in days, not weeks and results occur gradually over several treatments.

FRAXEL DUAL combines the gold standard Fraxel (deep) laser with a second laser (superficial).  The great advantage of the superficial laser is that the brown spots lie very close to the surface.  The more laser energy that is  placed in the upper layers of skin, the better the result on the brown spots.  We still like the deep laser because we can get a nice improvement in scars and wrinkles.  The DUAL combines both and allows the physician to  use all deep laser, all superficial laser or a combination of both for optimum results tailored to the patient.

So, back to brown spot/age spot removal for the regular folk:  there is something for everyone. Consult with an experience cosmetic physician to see what is best for you.  For a qualified board certified dermatologist go to ASDS.net.

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Anti-Aging, Blog, Cosmetic, Fraxel, Laser, Laser Rejuvenation


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