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Does Laser Therapy Truly Remove Age Spots?

Have you noticed small brown spots popping up on your hands, face, or other sun-exposed areas lately? Known as age spots or "liver spots", these flat, dark patches of skin are a common sign of aging. While age spots are generally harmless, many people want to get rid of them for aesthetics reasons. Laser therapy has become a popular non-invasive treatment option for removing age spots and you know what it really works. Let's break down how the treatment works to remove those stubborn brown spots.

What are age spots? 

Age spots,are flat, brown spots on your skin that commonly appear as you get older. They form due to years of sun exposure and natural skin changes that occur with aging. Age spots range in size from a pinhead to a pencil eraser. They are generally lighter in color than freckles and have irregular, indistinct borders.

Types of age spots 

There are a few main types of age spots depending on their appearance and location on the body:

1- Solar Lentigines (Sun Spots or Liver Spots)

Flat, brown spots that commonly appear on sun-exposed areas like your face, hands, and arm

2- Lentigo simplexSmaller and lighter brown spots that can show up anywhere on your skin

3- Seborrheic keratoses

Raised, wart-like growths that are usually brownish-black in color. They appear on areas like your face, chest, back, and shoulders

The location and appearance of the spots can provide clues as to which specific type you may have. Knowing the different kinds of age spots can help you understand how they might respond to various treatment options.

Commonly affected areas 

Unsurprisingly, the area’s most prone to developing age spots are the parts of your body that get the most sun exposure over your lifetime. This includes your face, particularly around your eyes, nose, cheeks, and forehead. The tops of your hands and lower arms also tend to accumulate age spots due to regular sun exposure. Some people even get age spots popping up on their legs, chest, or shoulders.

Laser therapy for age spot removal

Laser treatments have become one of the leading nonsurgical options for removing age spots and other pigmented lesions. Laser light interacts with the melanin pigment in the spots to break it down over time.

Technology we use at Vibrant Salon & Spa

At Vibrant Salon and Spa, we use a dual-wavelength Elite iQ laser to treat age spots. It combines an alexandrite laser and Nd:YAG laser for maximum treatment customization based on your individual skin type and pigmentation concerns. 

With its dual laser power, this technology offers great flexibility. It can address a wide variety of pigmented lesions from sun spots and freckles to melasma patches. The melanin reader personalizes the treatment intensity for your unique skin. This allows the laser to safely target the brown pigment in your age spots without over-treating or damaging your surrounding skin.

How our laser treatment works? 

  • During your initial consultation, the laser specialist will examine your skin thoroughly to assess your Fitzpatrick skin type and the severity of your age spots. This helps determine the optimal laser settings.

  • The practitioner aims the focused laser beam at each age spot individually.

  • Short pulses of light energy are delivered to the targeted spots.

  • The light energy is selectively absorbed by the melanin pigment in the age spots.

  • The melanin heats up and starts to break down from the light energy absorbed.

  • Over time, as the damaged melanin pigment disintegrates, it becomes gradually eliminated by your body's natural processes.

  • Within a few weeks, the treated age spots will begin to fade significantly or vanish completely.

  • This results in a smoother, more even-toned complexion as the brown spots are removed.

Duration and frequency of treatments 

A typical laser treatment session usually takes 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the area. Most patients require 2-4 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart to see maximum clearing.

During follow-up appointments, the laser settings may be adjusted based on how well your skin responded previously. Committing to the full recommended course of treatments maximizes the long-term removal of age spots.

Recovery and aftercare

After laser treatment a proper aftercare is necessary for the desired results. 

  • Gentle cleansing

After a laser treatment session, gentle cleansing of the treated area is important for proper healing. Use a fragrance-free cleanser designed for sensitive skin. Avoid harsh scrubbing which could irritate your skin.

  • Moisturize

To help reduce inflammation and promote healing, it's best to keep your skin moisturized after a laser treatment. Look for a hydrating cream or gel formulated for sensitive skin. This will soothe any redness and flaking. You may also get recommendation from your laser technician. 

  • Avoid makeup

It's best to avoid applying makeup to the treated area for 24-48 hours/or as suggested by your service provider after a session. This gives your skin time to heal without risk of infection from bacteria under cosmetics.

  • No Picking or scratching

As your skin heals, you may notice some flaking or scabbing around the treatment sites. Resist the urge to pick or scratch at these areas. This could damage new skin cells and increase the risk of hyperpigmentation or scarring. Let your body's natural process run its course.

Effectiveness of laser therapy

With multiple treatment sessions, laser therapy is very effective at removing or fading age spots for most people. Lighter, smaller spots usually vanish completely after 1-2 treatments. Darker or larger spots may take additional touch-ups but often fade significantly, making them hard to notice.

In some cases of resistant spots, you may see gradual lightening over 3-4 sessions but not total removal. Other pigmentation issues like freckles or melasma patches may respond very well to laser as well.

Typical outcomes for different skin types

Skin Type I-II (Fair to Light Skin) 

For those with fair to light skin types I-II, age spots often fade significantly or are removed completely within just a couple laser treatment sessions. The lightening effects are frequently very noticeable following the first laser session.

Skin Type III (Medium Skin Tones) 

Laser treatment also works well for skin type III, considered medium skin tones. However, more careful adjustment of the laser settings is needed for these skin types to avoid potential complications. People with medium skin tones may require a few more treatment sessions spaced closer together to fully fade away their age spots.

Skin Type IV-VI (Olive to Dark Skin) 

When treating age spots on darker skin types IV-VI, including olive to dark complexions, extra precaution during laser treatment is necessary. Thanks to Nd:Yag Laser that are suitable for darker skins.

Those with darker skin tones may see a more gradual fading of their age spots over the course of several laser sessions that need to be spaced further apart compared to lighter skin types.

Common risks 

While laser age spot removal treatments are quite safe when performed by a qualified professional, there are still some potential risks to consider. Temporary skin irritation, mild swelling, and flaking at the treatment sites are very common in the days following a session. There is a slight risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) in darker skin types if proper precautions are not followed. These potential side effects typically resolve on their own with time and proper home care.

Age spot removal with laser at Vibrant Salon in Fredericton 

At Vibrant Salon and Spa in Fredericton, New Brunswick, we utilize the latest laser technology from Cynosure to safely and effectively remove age spots. With our specialized training and dual-wavelength Elite iQ laser, we can develop a customized treatment plan for any skin type. By targeting the melanin pigment responsible for your age spots, our laser procedures gradually fade spots away over a series of sessions. Stop by for a free consultation with one of our laser practitioners. We will evaluate your skin concerns, costs of laser treatments, and expected outcomes to determine if laser is right for you.

FAQs about laser treatment for age spots

Do lasers permanently remove age spots?

When performed by a qualified provider with the proper technology and technique, laser therapy often can completely remove smaller age spots permanently. For larger or darker spots, multiple treatments may be required to significantly fade them to an unnoticeable level, reducing their appearance long-term if preventative skin care habits are maintained.

How long does it take for age spots to fade after laser?

You can expect some initial darkening or flaking of the treated areas within 1-2 weeks as the targeted pigment breaks down. Fading becomes visible within 2-4 weeks. Within 6-12 weeks, many lighter spots vanish completely while darker spots are noticeably lighter. Fading may continue slowly over subsequent months. Sticking to the full recommended course maximizes long-term results.

Do dark spots come back after laser?

With proper, ongoing sun protection habits, the risk of spots returning is very low once they have been fully lightened/removed by the recommended number of laser treatments. But neglecting sunscreen and exposing the treated areas can potentially cause new or darkened spots to form again over time. Hormonal changes like pregnancy may also impact pigmentation and the potential return of spots.

Can all skin types be treated?

Yes - laser equipment and techniques have advanced to safely treat all Fitzpatrick skin types. However, darker skin requires a gentler approach with special lasers, lower fluences, and meticulous aftercare to minimize side effects. Multiple treatments spaced further apart are usually needed. With tailored protocols by experienced providers, most skin tones can see fading results. Careful screening avoids complications.


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