My derm used liquid nitrogen on age spots on my arm and hand 5 days ago. Are they supposed to heal this way? (photo)

Liquid nitrogen for age spots

Doctor Answers 10

Age spots

Liquid nitrogen is an option which works by damaging the top layer of skin. This causes the skin to peel off and will require a minimum of 1-2 weeks to heal and time for the color to resolve. If the color persists a laser which targets dark color such as a q switched yag or picosecond laser can remove the residual spots.


Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

How to treat age spots.

What is referred to as age spots can be many different lesions and will require different treatments. Dermatologist often use liquid nitrogen to treat lesions by freezing them. Depending on the depth of tissue destruction there could be a whitish scar or a darker scar. The appearance is normal at this point, but once the areas are healed you should definitely cover them with a sun block to avoid hyper pigmentation.  

Farhad Rafizadeh, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Blistering

The liquid nitrogen caused blistering, which is it why it is used sometimes to treat age spots. Depending on the size and thickness of your spots, other options may have been used too.  In general, thick age spots (seborrheic keratoses) can also be electrodessicated ("burned") and scraped off, called curettage.  I find this heals well.  Thinner lesions may be amenable to laser treatment, such as with the Yag laser.  Apply Vaseline or Aquaphor to lesions and keep them out of the sun to promote healing.  Be well. 

Estee Williams, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Age spot treatment

Liquid nitrogen can be used for a variety of treatments including pre cancers, warts, and age spots among others. The downside of liquid nitrogen is formation of scabs and blisters- so your reaction is expected. Rarely one can develop pigment loss or scarring.
A more precise way for age spot treatment is to use a pigment specific laser than can selectively target your spot with minimal risks so overall a better choice. 

Andrei Metelitsa, MD, FRCPC
Calgary Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Liquid nitrogen for age spots

Liquid nitrogen is an effective and safe method to treat some 'age spots', especially those too thick fir a fractionated erbium or a pigment specific laser like a switched Nd:YAG laser. The spots generally blister and firm thin scabs and heal over 4-7 days. I tell patients to speed healing to keep them moist with Vaseline or aquaphor and above all never to pick at the scabs.
If you are concerned, the best thing to do is call your physician who did the treatment - he or she is a much better resource than a website for a treatment that was done recently, I tell patients to call with any questions because I want to see things myself to make sure everything is okay - that's the best way to avoid complications!
i hope this answer was helpful
Best wishes

Heidi A. Waldorf, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Treating Age Spots

Many years ago, before lasers, liquid nitrogen was used to treat age spots. Now lasers such as the Tri-Vantage and Fraxel are utilized since they cause less tissue injury and are cosmetically more elegant and effective.  You look like you may have blisters from the treatment which is a potential side effect.  I would definitely consult your treating physician about wound care.  Best, Dr. Green

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Age spot treatment with liquid nitrogen

It looks like an appropriate treatment was performed. This liquid nitrogen type of treatment can take a few weeks to fade.

In my practice I use an intense pulse light or fraxel treatment for age and brown spots.   There are many different brands of intense post light treatments that are effective. In particular, I use a Cutera and a viora platform, as well as a 1550 and 1927. 

Best of luck, and thanks for the question. 

Barbara Persons, MD, FACS
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Yes

All is consistent with a cryo injury. The aim to promote healing and prevent infection. Clean twice a day, Condy's soaks, pop blisters but leave skin intact. Use Bactroban or Vaseline or Neosproin 3-4 times a day, stay out of the sun, use sunscreen in 4-5 days when healed. 

All the best

Dr Davin Lim 
Laser Dermatologist
BRISBANE, Australia. 

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Liquid nitrogen for age spots

Your pictures appear to be consistent with healing after liquid nitrogen.  Some areas appear to be developing blisters.  Your skin may be sensitive, or it may have been a strong freeze.  Be sure to clean the area 1-2 times daily with soap and water, apply some ointment like Aquaphor, Vaseline, or Neosporin (as long as you don't have allergies to neosporin), and avoid the sun for the best results!  It can take about two weeks to heal fully.  If you have any concerns, please visit or call the doctor that performed the liquid nitrogen.  

Jacquelyn Dosal, MD
Miami Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Liquid nitrogen healing

Sometimes in response to thermal injury (hot or cold), the skin can react in this way. For any of those spots where the skin has broken down, I would recommend applying a topical ointment such as Bacitracin or Aquaphor until the skin has healed over. This may take a week or so. At that time, these areas will assume a more pink quality. To speed the resolution of the pink color, a topical steroid (hydrocortisone vs. triamcinolone) can help.

I would recommend following up with your dermatologist so he or she can monitor the wound healing and address any prolonged pigmentation problems, should they occur. Good luck!

Mark Been, MD
Barrington Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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.