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Brown Spots: Do They Reside in Epidermis or Dermis?

 
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Ina-Mei



Joined: 13 May 2009
Posts: 1
Location: MA

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 9:26 am    Post subject: Brown Spots: Do They Reside in Epidermis or Dermis? Reply with quote

I am in my middle 40s, and grew up in a farm with a lot of sun exposure during growing up. I am Asian.

I have noticed more brown spots on my face in the last few years, and I have been researching ways of getting rid of them. Below is a list of things I have tried so far:
1. Retinol cream: no difference, irritates skin
2. IPL: 2x in a doctor's office, only burned out a few very small and very dark spots, and most of brown spots are unchanged.

I want to look deeper into this. Does anybody know where the brown spots located? If they are in Epidermis, then they should be a little easier to get rid of. Maybe localized laser treatment?
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smurfette



Joined: 21 Aug 2008
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Age spots are, indeed, located in the epidermis. You would think that because they are on the surface, and it is mainly melanin, that they would be easy to remove. This seems to not be the case; they can be stubborn to remove.

It looks like you have done two of the recommended standard treatments for them: tretinoic acid and laser. Laser treatments are probably the most successful in removing age, liver, sun, and brown spots. Two or more sessions are needed, depending on the spots. There are other types of lasers that can be used to remove age spots, IPL is one of them.

Did your doctor recommend nightly usage of the tretinoic acid and was the strength the highest? I ask because if the strength was high, .1%, and you were told, right out of the gate, to apply it every night, that is where you ran into the irritation, most likely. When first starting out on tretinoic acid, even from a doctor’s recommendation, you would start maybe mid-range strength, around .05%, even lower if you have sensitive skin, and apply it every other night or even every third night. You have to develop a tolerance to tretinoic acid, even if treating acne, age spots, etc.

Other typical treatments that doctors or professionals can perform are: chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and cryosurgery (freezing of the age spot). Your doctor may have already recommended these to you.

As for other topicals, there’s hydroquinone, Vitamin C, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, and glycolic acid.

Hydroquinone is a strong inhibitor of melanin. Many people have had decent results with the use of this, but many don’t like it because of its side effects, such as burning, stinging, itching, redness, or irritation. You do not have to apply hydroquinone to the entire face; you can just dab a small amount directly to the age spot. The over-the-counter hydroquinone creams contain up to 2%. A physician can prescribe higher concentrations, such as 4%.

Ascorbic Acid is another option for age spots. Ascorbic acid acts as skin “brightener”, thus it has a lightening effect on the skin and has shown results with many individuals.

Alpha and beta hydroxy acids, along with glycolic acid, can also lighten age spots.

Make sure you are always wearing a good broad-spectrum sunscreen, every day, not matter what, and reapply if neccessary to prevent further sun damage and age spot development.

Be sure to ask your doctor about these options, if you haven't already, to see if they are the correct treament for your skin type.

Good luck! :D
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