Mole Removal Surgery

Mole Removal Surgery

Lentigines (also known as sun spots, age spots or liver spots) are flat spots on the skin that are darker than the surrounding area. In most cases, they are a tan or brown color. They commonly occur on the back of the hands but can also crop up on the neck and face. Lentigines are widely referred to as “age spots” due to the fact that they predominantly affect individuals who are aged over forty.

Why do lentigines occur?

Lentigines occur due to an increase in the skin’s pigment cells. They are also known as “sun spots” due to the fact that they are believed to be caused by exposure to the sun. They are most common on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun, such as the hands and face. Family history may also play a part in their occurrence. Individuals with pale skin are more likely to develop lentigines than individuals with darker skin tones, although they can still occur on tanned individuals.

Are lentigines dangerous?

Although they may look unsightly, lentigines are not usually dangerous and do not require treatment for health reasons. For the most part, lentigines are not cancerous but if you start to notice that a particular lentigo has altered in color, developed an irregular border or become thicker, it is wise to get it checked out in case it has become cancerous.

Can lentigines be prevented?

Individuals who have not reached the age of forty can limit the occurrence of lentigines by limiting sun exposure, wearing clothes that cover as much of the body as possible and applying sunscreen with a high SPF (30 or above) throughout the day.

Can lentigines be treated?

While lentigines are not usually dangerous, many people choose to treat them for cosmetic purposes. This can take several different forms and some treatments will work more quickly than others. Always use a strong sunscreen as these treatments can make the skin more susceptible to sun-related damage.

Cyrotherapy: For this treatment, a freezing agent such as liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto lentigines to freeze them and destroy the pigment that gives them their darkened color. This is the quickest way to treat lentigines and has a good success rate. It is mostly used on smaller areas of lentigines or individual lentigo. On the minus side, there can be unpleasant side effects such as stinging on application and the risk of permanent scarring and discoloration. Some mild discomfort may be experienced during the treatment but significant side effects are not common.

Skin peels: An alpha hydroxyacid (AHA) peel involves having a mild acid applied to your skin to encourage it to peel. As unpleasant as it may sound, this is another of the quicker ways to treat lentigines. It does not work as quickly as liquid nitrogen therapy but it is less likely to cause nasty after-effects. AHAs and beta hydroxy acid (BHAs) are often contained in skincare products. For example, salicyclic acid can be found in many acne products.

Dermabrasion: This is similar to a skin peel but there is a longer recovery time before the skin returns to normal. Until it heals, the skin is likely to look red and sore.

Retin-A creams: This treatment involves applying the cream on a daily basis for six months. It takes longer to see positive effects in comparison to cyrotherapy and skin peels, but it can successfully lighten the appearance of large lentigines and encourage smaller lentigines to disappear.

Bleaching creams: Creams that bleach the skin are often used to minimize the appearance of lentigines, especially those containing hydroquinone. This ingredient can cause irritation in some individuals, as well as making skin look red.

Laser surgery: Laser treatments can target the pigment without causing damage to the skin. Multiple sessions will usually be needed to see noticeable results.

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