Doctors may call some of the dark spots on your face, hands, arms, legs, and other sun-exposed areas “solar lentigines.” Family members or friends may call them “liver spots” (they have nothing to do with the liver) or “age spots” (they arise among younger and older people alike). You know them as the dark splotches or freckles that never went away, and you want them gone. Fortunately, effective and safe removal of brown spots in the Stockton, CA area is conveniently located at California Skin and Laser Center. Led by Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Gerald Bock, our team has the advanced skills and sophisticated technologies to reveal your healthier, more youthful and more radiant looking skin. As with all the many conditions treated at our center, a plan to effectively clear your skin of hyperpigmentation starts with an accurate diagnosis. Different types of brown spots require different approaches to treatment.
The “birth” of a brown spot
Hyperpigmentation refers to areas that are darker than the surrounding skin. This discoloration includes freckles and melasma; however, unlike freckles, solar lentigines tend to be bigger (not “pinpoint” in appearance). They are largely darker brown than freckles, too. Solar lentigines appear on people across a range of skin tones, and they do not fade in the winter. Melasma resembles a gray-brown patch more than a brown spot. It is often associated with hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Solar lentigines are common among older people. So, they are often referred to as age spots. Yet, it is years of accumulated sun damage (not the passage of time, exclusively) that is to blame for spots that are static features of your face and limbs, and other areas exposed to years of ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning lamps. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that up to 90 percent of the signs of skin “aging” are caused by UV light. For this reason, your shoulders and face may be more spotted than less-exposed areas, such as your stomach and back.
Melanin is the brown pigment present on the outermost layer of the skin. Hyperpigmentation occurs due to excess deposits of melanin on the skin. Such discoloration is associated with ultraviolet light because melanin absorbs the energy from this harmful UV light as a means of protecting the deeper layers of skin from damage.
“True” age spots can be frustrating, but they are harmless. It is important to know that some pre-cancers and melanoma skin cancers resemble this type of discoloration. We recommend full skin examinations for all patients, scheduled at least once every year. You should also regularly watch for changes to existing brown spots that may require prompt testing.
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The power of resurfacing
Many of the procedures to effectively remove brown spots involve resurfacing the skin in some way. Resurfacing exfoliates or removes damaged skin to reveal and promote healthy, unblemished skin cells. There are several ways that we may resurface your trouble areas, including:
Dr. Bock may also prescribe medications such as retinoids that support healthy cell turnover and help to curb the production of melanin. Regardless of the type of brown spot, it is important to understand the source of your discoloration; for instance, medications for severe cases of melasma are pointless if triggers associated with this condition persist.
It is always best to prevent rather than to “rejuvenate.” Healthy skin with an even tone is built on a foundation of great sun protection and other measures to minimize damage from harmful UV light. Schedule your evaluation with Dr. Bock at the California Skin and Laser Center. Call 209-751-4292 to book your consultation at the Stockton, CA office. We also have offices in Lodi 209-330-0764 and Elk Grove 209-900-1343 if those locations are more convenient for you.
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