What Kind of Treatments Exist for Sunspot in the Face?

Doctor Answers 13

Sun spots on the face do well with a few simple treatments.

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Sun spots on the face are easy to treat with either lasers, freezing or electrofulguration(burning them off).  It can be quick and not that expensive to do.  They do come back if you get alot of sun exposure but hopefully they will stay away for a few yrs.  Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Treatments for Sunspots on face

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Brown spots on the skin—typically on the face, chest, shoulders, and back of hands—can be the direct result of unprotected exposure to the sun. They can also be a result of hormonal changes and are a common skin problem that we, consult many of our patients about.

The flat spots on the skin—also called age spots, sun spots, solar lentigines, or liver spots (even though they have nothing to do with the liver)—are triggered after prolonged sun exposure. When the sun’s UV rays hit the skin, they damage the pigment-producing cells called melanocytes and causing a spike in production of the skin pigment called melanin. They’re common in patients with fair skin, but they can also appear in those with darker skin.

These spots range in color from brown to tan to dark brown based on how much sun exposure you’ve had—and cause your skin to look blotchy, freckled, and uneven. And they vary in size, again depending on how much sun you’ve been exposed to.

Link to hormones: As hormone levels may change during events such as pregnancy or due to birth control pills, brown, uneven patches can appear on a woman’s face when the skin is exposed to the sun. It seems that sunlight triggers the pigment-producing cells in the skin to go into overdrive. Called the melasma, these dark patches may persist and not improve even with bleaching creams.

Alexandrite: This resurfacing treatment will work to quickly eliminate deeper brown spots, leaving the skin clear and youthful. Depending on the selected course of treatment, downtime can vary from two to five days—which can be customized to fit your schedule and your needs. This laser can be used on the face, chest, hands, arms and legs.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Sunspots on face

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First, it is important to be evaulated by a board certified dermatologist to look at the spots and see if they are benign or should be biopsied. Many treatment options are available for benign sunspots. Lightening creams containing hydroquinone, azaleic acid, lignin peroxidase, licorice, etc., may be helpful. Often times vitamin A creams can help lighten spots. Peels containing salicylic can be performed by a dermatologist. Lasers such as IPL or fraxel may be useful, as well. Most importantly, daily sunscreen use is crucial to prevent more spots from occurring. 

Donna Bilu Martin, MD
Aventura Dermatologist

Sunspots on face

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It is difficult to really determine what treatment you would be a good candidate for without seeing you first.  I recommend that you see a board certified facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist prior to doing any treatment. 

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews


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Sun spots can be removed by a VI peel or Laser resurfacing. Depending how deep they are. Without an exam it’s hard to be more exact you should be seen by a PS to give you your options.


Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Sun spot Treatments

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We find that the Obagi system works well for patients who can tolerate it.  It takes some commitment on your part following instructions and staying with the program.  Also, see a good Board Certified Dermatologist as they specialize in skin, and lasers for best results.  Plastic Surgeons and Dermatologist work well together when taking care of patient concerns.  Best to luck with this.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Treatments for Sunspots

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Laser, ipl, and medical grade skin care such as obagi can all be options to addressing sun spots.  Consult with an expert and experienced physician who will be able to tailor a treatment program specifically for you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Treatments for Sunspots on the Face

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Sunspots, which are also known as age spots can be treated topically with hydroquinone up to 4%.

The hydroquinone will block an enzyme that is needed to make melanin (the pigment you see in sun spots).

The disruption in the process causes the structures in the skin which contain the melanin to break down.

And this results in a fading of the age spots.

However the FDA has imposed a limit of 3  months regarding the continuous use of hydroquinone. Past this point, it can be toxic.

Laser treatments offer a safer, faster and more effective alternative. If there are a small number of age spots they can be treated with Q-Switched Nd Yag lasers. Larger areas will require a system like Fraxel Dual.

Laser energy will break up the pigment and the specialized cells containing them. And your body removes the remains through the blood and lymphatic system.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Best Treatment for Sunspots on the Face

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One of the most effective (and least expensive) ways to reverse sunspots due to the effects of chronic sun damage to your skin is by using a combination of two prescription strength medications: 4% hydroquinone and tretinoin cream. Prescription strength 4% hydroquinone is better than any OTC product for lightening dark spots in the skin. These dark spots are typically due to chronic sun damage so daily use of sunscreens is essential in your treatment. Combining prescription-only tretinoin cream with hydroquinone will make it even more effective. I recommend the Obagi Nu-Derm System which uses both tretinoin cream and hydroquinone to visibly lighten age spots as well as the fine lines and wrinkles that are due to chronic sun exposure.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Treating sun spots

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There are various ways to treat sunspots on the face, depending on whether they are raised or flat. Your dermatologist can decide with you the best option as far as discomfort, downtime, and budget. Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy can be quite helpful, as can IPL or BBL laser-type devices. Creams tend to be very slow and much less effective, but are still an option. Ofcourse preventing new spots with good sun protection is a must.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.