Balshi Blog

How To Remove Age Spots With Laser Treatments

With advances in technology we can significantly improve skin conditions like age spots. Treatments that are now made readily available to fit any cosmetic goal you may have. 

One of the top 5 most popular being – laser skin resurfacing.  

If I told you removing sun and aged spots could be reduced to nothing, would you consider a laser resurfacing procedure? Where new skin covers the treated area in 1 to 2 weeks to completely diminish the appearance of age spots? With an option for a treatment that consists of 1-3 sessions lasting 15-30 minutes to completely diminish the appearance of age spots? A safe and effective way to turn aging skin into a more youthful glow?

There is a way!

It does exist!

Our skin is always exposed to the harshest of elements in this world. And over that time, the wear, tear and damage leaves behind noticeable changes and imperfections in the skin that we’d all love to change. Most inevitable being age spots. 

Because we all age.

Laser resurfacing can help the appearance of lines in the face, improve your complexion, and loss of tone. This means, reversing the aging process and damage from the sun or scars over the years. Although it’s a treatment that isn’t a permanent one-time fix because we always continue to age, it IS a long-lasting solution to treat flaws on the skin that inevitably happen over the years. 

What Are Age Spots?

Those pesky brown spots or patches of skin that start to appear later on as we age. These develop from years in the sun, they could be liver spots, freckles, birth marks or other benign pigmented lesions. You can find these spots starting anywhere from the face to arms and hands, chest and back. 

IPL and laser treatments can effectively be removed and improve the overall appearance of your skin. Sun spots can be removed permanently and normally don’t return however, new spots may appear in sun-damaged skin prior to treatment as we age. For those that freckle easily may also continue to get more sun spots as they age. Other spots like birthmarks may need continual treatment to be removed more permanently. 

Sun spots can be prevented by wearing SPF 30+ sunscreen and limiting your sun exposure. Avoid sun bathing and make sure you’re reasonably protected from strong sunlight and UV rays.  

Ablative Laser Resurfacing For Age Spots

One of the most effective ways to improve sun damaged or aged skin is through ablative laser skin resurfacing. Ablative lasers deliver an intense wavelength of light in order to remove the outer layers of damaged skin. It destroys the epidermis and heats the underlying skin layer, the dermis. This stimulates natural collagen growth in the skin. It is a little more invasive than non-ablative lasers but produces much better results. It also stimulates the underlying skin which forces the skin to heal by promoting collagen formation. This results in the improvement of wrinkles, fine lines and a smoother, more even appearance. 

Laser resurfacing can treat skin issues such as:

  • Age spots
  • Uneven texture and tone
  • Moderate acne scars
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Wrinkles 
  • Birthmarks
  • Crow’s feet
  • Smoker’s Line
  • Spider Veins
  • Vascular lesions 

Deep wrinkles and sagging skin is not a guaranteed removal even with ablative lasers, and re-reatments are necessary over time because we always continue to age. 

To Prepare For Laser Skin Resurfacing

If you’re considering ablative laser resurfacing, you should talk to your dermatologist to discuss your desired results, medical history, health issues, and possible medications/supplements you are currently taking, etc. This way your dermatologist can determine if ablative laser resurfacing is right for you and your cosmetic goals. 

Prior to treatment, your dermatologist will tell you to minimize sun exposure before and after your treatment to avoid permanent discoloration in your skin. Take antiviral medication to prevent infections such as herpes and cold sore outbreaks if needed. And depending on the extent of your treatment, your doctor may have you arrange for someone to drive you home if your procedure requires a sedation. 

Before your treatment, your face will be cleansed and areas will be treated/numbed or sedated to help you relax. Your doctor will place protective eye coverings over your eyes to shield them from the laser light. Intense heat from the laser will be fired in just the right amount of controlled damage to the targeted area of skin. This will promote regrowth and collagen to grow in its place which helps remove the appearance of age spots and fill-in wrinkles in the healing process. Depending on the size of the area, the procedure can take 30 minutes to 2 hours. 

After the laser treatment, a dressing will be applied and your face will be bandaged for a few days. You may experience pain and tingling as though you have had a severe sunburn until the skin begins to heal. During the healing process, your skin may burn and be raw to the touch. It’s important to avoid touching your face, picking and peeling at it as it heals and exposing it to the sun to keep it further from risk of additional damage. 

Your doctor may require multiple follow-ups to monitor your skin which can take up to four weeks to completely heal. More downtime than a non-ablative laser that would generally be little to no downtime at all. Although the skin can remain pink and discolored, after two weeks, patients can cover it up with make-up until the color evens itself out. 

Patients often see results right after treatment. For those who have minor side effects, peeling, scabbing, redness, etc. The total result would be visible after the skin heals itself completely. 

Risks Involved In Ablative Laser Skin Resurfacing

Because ablative lasers are intense in comparison, there are going to be higher risks with a more invasive surgery than non-ablative laser resurfacing. Treatment causes the skin to possibly become red and swollen. Itchiness may also last for several months post-treatment and if you suffer from existing skin conditions… they may also contribute to prolonged side effects and risks. 

After treatment, your healthcare provider will apply ointment creams and bandage your face. These thick creams may cause acne to worsen during recovery time. 

If the surface of your skin isn’t properly bandaged and taken care of. Sun exposure after ablative laser resurfacing can cause permanent changes in skin color to turn darker called hyper-pigmentation, or lighter called hypo-pigmentation. This tends to be more common in people who have darker skin than lighter skin. 

Ablative laser resurfacing can also leave you susceptible to viral or bacterial infection. Mostly very common in people who carry the herpes virus. The ablative laser treatments can cause flare-ups in infection which cause cold sores post-treatment. 

As well as a light risk for scarring. And even more rare, ectropion. Ectropion is when there is the turning of the eyelid, which exposes the inner surface of the lower eyelid. 

Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing For Age Spots

A not-as-effective but less severe approach is non-ablative laser resurfacing. This laser resurfacing is not as invasive and takes much less recovery time than ablative laser resurfacing. A non-ablative procedure takes IPL light or intense pulsed light, or other various types of lasers, – non wounding lasers – that promote collagen growth. And over time also helps improve skin texture, tone, and minor flaws like fine lines and age spots. 

A great selling point for non-ablative laser resurfacing is the almost-no-downtime after treatment. Most patients can go back to their daily lives and work immediately following a procedure like age spot or brown spot treatment. However, just like ablative laser resurfacing, patients are recommended to avoid direct sun exposure during any recovery period. 

Risks Involved In Non-Ablative Laser Skin Resurfacing

Side effects of non-ablative laser resurfacing can also cause risks. Less risks than ablative skin resurfacing, however, similar to a lesser effect. 

Non-ablative laser resurfacing still poses a risk for swelling and redness. However, this is mild in comparison to ablative lasers and generally only lasts for a couple of hours to a couple of days. It can also contribute to temporary changes in skin color, mostly darker skin – hyper-pigmentation – and more commonly for darker skin types. 

As well as also leave you susceptible to flare-ups of previous skin conditions and viral infections, more commonly the herpes virus. 

Some may ask… “Well, Is this safe?” 

Yes, however, all surgical procedures carry a level of risks. With all the options available for laser skin resurfacing it’s hard to decipher which procedure will work best for you. Depending on your history, skin type, and skin issues you have – consult with your doctor who is experienced and specializes in helping you make a treatment plan that is tailored for you. 

Different Laser Treatments Available for Different Skin Types And Conditions

There are many types of laser resurfacing options available for skin types and treatment. Consulting with your dermatologist about your preferred end-goal, your skin’s history, and current conditions may change the options available to you for treatment. When it comes to skin cosmetics and procedures, there is not a one-type-fits-all formula. Much like, there isn’t a one-type-fits-all skin type.

We’re all different. Right?

There many different routes to take when it comes to laser skin resurfacing. Here are a few additional types of skin lasers that could better fit your needs:

Fractional Laser RejuvenationCan be considered an ablative or non-ablative laser. It’s a little stronger than a non-ablative laser but is sub-par in comparison to an ablative laser with less downtime and lower risk. Fractional lasers are broken up into tiny beams to treat only a fraction of the skin in the desired area. This is extremely effective at reducing age spots and discoloration of the skin.

Intense Pulsed Light Which is not considered a laser or invasive, technically. However, it treats the skin similar to lasers. Intense pulsed light doesn’t harm the skin but does penetrate deeper than lasers to remove age spots, freckles, sun damage, hyper-pigmentation, acne and rosacea. 

Photodynamic TherapyThis is a procedure that entails applying light-sensitizing solution to the skin, followed by a skin laser directed at the area. This has minimal recovery time and can help with uneven tone and texture. 

CO2 Lasers – Is considered an ablative laser and used for deeper skin flaws like warts, deep wrinkles and scars

Pulsed-Dye Lasersconsidered non-ablative lasers. These heat the skin and absorb pigments. This would be used to adjust hyper-pigmentation, reduce redness, rosacea, and broken capillaries

Erbium LasersPopular for fine lines, skin laxity, age spots, and wrinkles. This can be ablative or non-ablative lasers which promote collagen remodeling

Focus on what your goals are for your skin and it’s needs. Talk to a certified dermatologist or certified skin care professional to help you determine which treatment is the best for you and your skin type. 

For Your Skin Condition Needs, Call Balshi Dermatology In Delray Beach, Florida

Do you suffer from skin problems? Have you considered laser skin resurfacing? For any questions about laser skin resurfacing for age spots or to learn how to better treat your skin flaws, contact a board-certified dermatologist in Delray Beach, Balshi Dermatology at (561) 272-6000 or send us a message on our Contact Page to set up your appointment.