There are many skin care products out there today for age spots. But what if you have tried them all with little result? Then you may want to consider more advanced options such as botox, dermal fillers or lasers. Following are some basic explanations of products and procedures currently on the market and how the treatments work.
Medical Treatments for Age Spots
Retinoids are derived from vitamin A but contain a different chemical structure; retinoids may limit oil production, reduce skin oiliness, and prevent acne and pigmentation. In addition, retinoids improve visible wrinkles and dark spots for pigmented skin types, and can even act to prevent further acne outbreaks in oily skin. Dermatologists recommend you start retinoid use slowly, beginning with the lowest strength available, sparingly, especially if you have rosacea, acne or skin redness.
Expect two weeks of use before your skin can tolerate the treatment without redness or flaking. Despite the initial reactions, many find the end results to be well worth it. If you continue to react to the treatment with excess irritation and redness you can discontinue use, further reduce the amount or try another brand. With normal reactions, the cream can be used as often as every other night per your doctor’s instructions.
How to properly use a Retinoid
1. In your hand, mix a pea-size portion of retinoid with a couple of drops of Vitamin C serum if desired to smooth the mixture.
2. Apply to face and neck using upwards strokes – don’t forget the back of your hands.
3. Place a trace of product on your fingertips and apply gently on the skin area under the eye (never on top of the eyelid or around the eye).
4. Use once every three days for two weeks or until no redness or dryness is visible.
5. At the end of two weeks, apply the mixture every other night for another two weeks
6. After the first two weeks of use, you can use the cream nightly and indefinitely.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and Vascular Lasers
Dermatologists use Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL (a combination of different colors of light) to remove the dark spots, broken blood vessels and enlarged oil glands that produce excess oil and cause acne. There are various types of IPL, some more powerful than those used in salons. IPL can also be used in combination with a topical medication called Levulan that makes the skin sensitive to light and intensifies the treatments effect. When used in a combination with Levulan, the light therapy becomes know as Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT.
This treatment is effective for dark spots and oiliness and is also a highly effective treatment of flushing, redness, visible blood vessels and other symptoms on the rosaecea spectrum. IPL can also be combined with various vascular lasers. The red blood vessels absorb the light produced by the vascular laser (or the Intense Pulsed L ight.) The blood vessels then heat up and burst, leaving the skin untouched.
One vascular laser, the Dornier 940nm, works with the blood component deoxyhemoglobin and as a result, this laser does not produce bruising after the procedure, as other vascular lasers can. It can also be used on dark skin with no damage. IPL treatment is administered first to the entire face, followed by the Dornier laser directed to large blood vessels next.
Preparing for Light or Laser Treatment:
You can reduce the number of IPL treatmenrs needed to treat dark spots by regular retinoid use for a month or more in advance to pre-treat dark spots. Differin gel or Triluma. In advance of the light therapy, Levulan gel is spread on your face for thirty minutes or more and then removed. Your doctor can then perform an IPL or other light treatment. It generally takes ten minutes, and you will notice a mild feeling of warmth.
The procedure is rarely painful. Since the Levulan sensitizes the skin to light, you will need to use sunblock for 36 hours after treatment. After Photodynamic Therapy, your skin may look red, peeling, or crusted for three to seven days after the PTD procedure.
After blue light treatment for acne:
There is no downtime from this procedure.
After vascular laser treatment for blood vessels.
Some vascular lasers cause intense bruising, so be sure to discuss this with your dermatologists prior to treatments so you will know what to expect.