I have been told by a medi spa doctor that my age spots are too big to be treated by laser - -he uses Cynosure Laser Elite, and that I would first have to undergo 6 months of treatment by a skin lightening treatment called Vivier Sequin 4 ids. My spots are light and about 5/16ths of an inch. One is nearly half an inch. Does his recommendation sound right? So far in my research, there are faster ways to do this. Why is he recommending this treatment?
Was Told I Needed 6 Months of Skin Lightening Treatments Before Having Treatment to Get Rid of Age Spots, Normal?
Doctor Answers (6)
Age spots and skin lightening treatment
Without photos and knowing your skin type, it is hard to ascertain why they would say your spots are too big to be treated by laser. Can you send a photo of your condition? I really shy away from medi spas. Please find a board certified dermatologist in your area with experience in cosmetic dermatology. If you have fair skin, you can get treated very quickly and efficiently with the Fraxel laser. If your condition is Melasma, it is more difficult to treat with lasers. Please let me know what happens.
Lightening treatments for age spots
You should consult a board certified dermatologist to diagnose what your spots are. If you have large blotches of pigment called melasma, sun protection, lightening creams and perhaps light chemical peels may be the best treatment for you. It depends on your skin type. If you have brown age spots, sun avoidance, lightening creams, liquid nitrogen, IPL or various lasers may help. Please see a dermatologist for advice.
Age Spots Treatment Preparation
When deciding preparation products and time needed for that preparation, the doctor needs to take into consideration the patient's skin type. Are you a dark skinned individual or is your skin fairly light? Because chemicals and laser can create a situation called PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation), they may be concerned that you will develop this without extensive pre-treatment melanin depression. If you are light to medium, you may be able to do a treatment sooner, or even without products to prep your skin and just use them afterward.
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In our practice what we use for aging spots or melasma is called Profractional Laser and micro laser peel both done at the same time. Doing it this way is done one time and under general anesthesia. After that we put you on lightning cream to help continue to treat. You see a huge difference.
Pretreating age spots before laser
My first question to you is: is this medi spa doctor a board-certified dermatologist? If not, consider seeing a dermatologist before you do anything. Many med spas aren't run by dermatologists and plastic surgeons, as in my opinion, they should be. So, first consider getting a second opinion.
However, it's not uncommon to concurrently treat and/or pretreat the skin. What some people refer to as "age spots" just aren't that, and treating them with lasers won't lighten them, first off. My personal opinion is that Vivier products, while nice, aren't going to do that much to age spots, which are usually much deeper in the skin levels than products like that can penetrate. I don't think this product is going to do anything to pretreat the skin.
Most likely, based just on what you're describing and I'm picturing, I'd recommend a FotoFacial or IPL series, with treatments of liquid nitrogen done to the deeper pigment spots with a physician. Most commonly, these are the quickest ways to improve spots like yours, even out tone and texture, and bring up the more deeply rooted pigment. Adding in a product like Vivier or SkinCeuticals antioxidants is a great move and should be done for ongoing purposes of skin treatment.
Treating Large Age/Sun Spots
We treat age/brown spots of all sizes in our office using different treatment modalities including topicals, laser and chemical peeling. While I cannot say for sure as I have no idea what you look like in person, I have personally told a patient their age spots were too big to be treated. I think your questions are valid and you should take them up with your doctor. Otherwise, consider getting a second opinion with a board-certified dermatologist.