What is the most sufficient way to improve my sun damaged skin? I'm only 36yrs old. (photo)

As you see on my picture I have 2 white spots on my forehead. Major skin discoloration. Acne had it all my life its worse around my periods. I'm still young. I regret not wearing sunscreen on a regulat basis. Help.

Doctor Answers 2

Hypopigmentation Solutions

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Hi Louise,

Several factors can contribute to white spots on the skin, such as the sun, melasma, prescription medicine and hormonal imbalances or in your case – acne. This is called “hypopigmentation” or loss of skin coloring which has resulted from trauma to the skin which has hindered melanin production and thus the skin’s color. For an at home treatment, try looking for a hydroxy acid cleanser/toner/cream which will aid in cell regeneration and help new skin cells replace the scarred skin cells. Next, try exfoliating your skin twice a week in order to slough away dead skin cells. Also, the use of sunscreen daily will help prevent worsening and reoccurrence of hyper/hypo pigmentation. Limiting your sun exposure, and wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 will help to hide, and even reverse, the summer skin sins of your youth. In terms of in-office treatments, multiple non-invasive possibilities exist that are effective such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, LUMA I and LUMA II Peels, Intense Pulse Light Therapy and Fraxel. 

Hope this helped and good luck!

Dr. Ariel Ostad

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Sun Damaged Skin

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Sun damage is one of the top concerns my patients come in for after the summer. We know it can be the biggest enemy to your skin, causing premature aging, dark spots, uneven skin tone, Melasma and skin cancer. Many people tend to forget or may not be aware of the fact that the sun they got in their youth is still actively accelerating the aging process. Sun exposure from years ago will catch up to you in a matter of time. Like all forms of radiation, the harmful UV rays causing free radical damage in your skin has a delayed reaction time. The best thing you can do for yourself is know where the health of your skin stands right now. Work aggressively to preserve your skin by preventing and treating the skin. By doing this you are changing the course of how your skin behaves. If you intervene in the aging process, you can reverse the clock.


Treating Different Types of Sun Damage

Dark Spots – If you are a patient who is interested in getting rid of dark spots on the face, chest, arms, hands or legs the Gentle Max Pro Alexandrite resurfacing treatment will quickly and easily eliminate them, leaving the skin clear and youthful. The number of treatments will depend on your skin—and how many brown spots you have. Expect that you might need one to several treatments over the course of several weeks to get rid of the dark spots entirely. Following the treatment, any spots treated by this laser will become darker in color, scab and gently flake off. Total downtime can vary from two to five days. This laser is brilliant! It’s quick, there is no scarring and very little downtime.

Discoloration, Melasma and Redness – To treat the whole face, especially freckles I recommend the IPL (Intense Pulse Light or Photo Rejuvenation) treatment. Focusing on achieving a beautiful even skin tone all over, this treatment will remove any superficial discoloration. There is no downtime with this treatment; you will walk out of the office with noticeable improvement in brown hyperpigmented areas, as well as a reduction in overall redness. A series of treatments may be recommended.

Anti-aging, Rejuvenation and Dark Spots – A few times a year I highly recommend doing a Retinol Peel. These are our deeper peels, which also go by names like the Vitamin A Peel or Retinoic Acid Peel. This peel treatment delivers a stronger concentration of acids than your professional in-office no downtime peel. It is followed by a high dose of retinol meant to maximize ingredient penetration and absorption of the anti-aging actives. A Vitamin A Peel is suitable for all skin types and will gently remove dead skin cells and promote a healthier looking skin. Your skin will be glowing, softer and with a smoother more even skin tone. Downtime is 5 to 7 days and involves facial peeling as well as staying out of the sun. Afterwards it is recommended to use gentle products (such as a moisturizer and face wash) with simple non-irritating ingredients.

Keep in mind, regardless of these amazing treatments, you should never go in the sun unprotected. Dark spots will return if you do not wear sunscreen or increase your level of SPF. Sun damage can happen all year-round. Dark spots, redness and freckles are all ways your skin is talking to you, and telling you that it has had too much UVA/UVB exposure

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