Sun Spots and Discoloration of Skin
It is critical to protect the skin from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays, which are a common cause of skin pigmentation, skin cancer and advanced aging. Dr. Kittridge recommends wearing protective clothing, broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and a DAILY broad-spectrum sunscreen with frequent reapplication. Dr. Kittridge’s favorite sunscreen ingredient available within the U.S. is zinc oxide, which is a physical blocker for both UVA and UVB, that causes very little irritation to the skin.
Prevention of sun spots is the best treatment. Studies show that dark spots may fade with aggressive sun protection with SPF alone. Additionally, using a daily SPF decreases your risk of skin cancer and sun damage by 24% over 5 years compared to peers who are not using daily sun protection.
Once sun spots appear Dr. Kittridge may provide several options for treatment. First, she clinically examines the area with a specialized tool called a dermatoscope to be sure that the lesion is benign and safe to treat cosmetically. Once it is determined that the spot is benign, Dr. Kittridge may treat the lesion(s) in several ways:
- Topical compounded medications individualized to each patient. Often these contain varying concentrations of hydroquinone, kojic acid, tretinoin, hydrocortisone, Vitamin C, etc. Compounds are prescriptions customized for the patients skin type, characteristics of the dark spots and patient goals.
- Chemical agents including trichloracetic acid may be applied to a solitary lesion such as a sun spot OR Dr. Kittridge may recommend treatment of the entire face with several different chemical peeling agents that are customized to your needs.
- Laser treatment may be recommended for some patients. Kittridge Dermatology does not offer laser treatments at this time, so Dr. Kittridge will make referrals when appropriate. Stay tuned as laser options become available in the future!