Freckles are small brown spots found on the face and arms. They are caused by the sun and genetics and usually first appear in childhood. Sun spots are flat, larger brown spots called lentigines that usually appear on the face, chest, back, shoulders, arms and the back of the hands. They typically occur after age 40.
Causes of Brown Spots
Sun spots and freckles are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds.
Treatment of Brown Spots
A multi-faceted approach treatment is recommended with strict sun protection.
- Sun Protection: This is the most important treatment for sun spots to stop them for further darkening and to prevent the development of new ones. This means wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30+ every day. In addition, you should avoid direct sun exposure and wear a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside. Sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need.
- Topical Vitamin C: 15-20% L-ascorbic acid (medical grade) applied daily before sunscreen
- Topical Retinoid: To enhance skin lightening, a topical retinoid such as Retin-A or medical grade Retinol may be prescribed
- Topical Skin Brighteners: Azelaic acid, kojic acid or other medical grade cosmeceuticals such as Lytera by SkinMedica are the first line treatment to help lighten dark spots and can be applied to the skin for much longer duration.
- Hydroquinone: This medicine is a common treatment to lighten the skin. It is only recommended for temporary use. Strengths of HQ 4% or higher require a prescription.
- Chemical Peels: A series of in-office chemical peels may assist with lightening your skin.
- Laser treatments: A Photo Facial with the Lumecca™ IPL laser is effective in treating diffuse sun spots, freckles, and sun-damaged skin with uneven pigment. This may be combined with the ResurFX™ non-ablative Fractional Resurfacing laser treatments for increased efficacy. The Excel V™ can also be useful in treating individual brown spots on the face, neck, chest and hands.
Dr. Curcio specializes in Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. With her extensive experience, she can personalize a treatment regimen to help you attain the best possible result.
Make an appointment with Dr. Curcio to determine what treatment is best for you.