By Dr. Mark Kohout, Cosmetic Surgery Specialist
Sun spots and hyperpigmentation are very ageing. We asked Sydney-based plastic and cosmetic surgeon Dr Mark Kohout how we can roll back the years with non-invasive cosmetic creams and treatments. He also gives preventative advice for more youthful looking skin.
Age spots, sun spots, liver spots, freckles and lentigos – call them what you will, but those brownish skin discolorations or splotches on your skin, are the result of changes in skin pigmentation. That’s what happens when the body produces too much melanin – the compound found in all forms of animal life that gives skin and hair its natural colour – and it darkens the skin, making it blotchy and uneven.
Skin changes are one of the most visible signs of ageing and are related to environmental factors, genetics, medications, hormonal changes, nutrition and the biggest single factor – sun exposure. That’s why age spots most often appear on the hands, face, back and feet.
Those aged 40 years and beyond are more susceptible to age spots and are generally the people looking to get rid of them because around this age the skin tends to regenerate itself more slowly. Slower regeneration, coupled with a sluggish metabolism, causes age spots and other blemishes to occur more often and more noticeably.
Ways to treat pigmentation
The best preventative treatment is of course to stay out of the sun. The majority of age spots are caused by over-exposure to the sun, which damages the skin, leaving it more susceptible to erratic pigmentation. Other sensible choices include wearing protective clothing or sunscreen with a high SPF rating every day.
Resurfacing creams with Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHAs) can help fade age spots along with Retinoids. Retinoids are derived synthetically from Vitamin A, which in high dosages applied directly to the skin causes the body’s natural exfoliating process to accelerate, replacing old skin cells with fresh, new ones.
We will also often use skin lightening creams, which are specifically formulated to decrease the production of pigment in the skin. These lightening creams are usually used in conjunction with vitamin A creams for the best effect.
Other non-invasive and highly effective cosmetic skin treatments for the instant removal of age spots and pigmentation include skin peels or Fraxel laser resurfacing to correct the effects of photo-ageing by removing the upper layers of the skin most affected by the sun. The results of laser resurfacing can be quite spectacular with blotchy pigmentation and sunspots disappearing completely, delivering smooth, clear skin which if maintained with regular care, can stay that way for many years. What’s more, there is minimal downtime or discomfort and only three to five treatments are usually required.
Alternatively, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) photo-rejuvenation treatments use pulsed light to correct a number of benign skin conditions such as freckles, pigmentation and age spots. The major benefit of IPL is that it selectively targets unwanted spots, leaving normal skin unharmed so there is no downtime or prolonged healing.
Better still, IPL stimulates natural collagen production in the skin, rejuvenating the texture of the complexion as it removes pigmentation. For best results, up to three treatments are required at three to four week intervals.
While we can’t slow down the ageing process, we can treat the effects on our skin. To discuss your suitability for treatment with Dr. Kohout, please phone 1300 551 151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on Dr. Kohout and his work can be found at www.drmarkkohout.com.au
More RESCU blogs on pigmentation that you might enjoy:
1. Banish pigmentation, age spots, freckles and dark spots with Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
2. RESCU Road test: Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Even Better Skin Tone Correcting moisturiser SPF 15
3. Bright young things: RESCU brings you our pick of the best skin brightening products on the beauty front
4. From Cougar to Kitten: the mother of all Magic Erasers from whitening experts Shiseido
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