Color and Texture Issues
Brown Spots on Face, Redness
The first thing to do about age spots and brown spots on the face or hands is to prevent more of them by applying sunscreen daily. Make sure you use a sunscreen that protects you from UVA radiation by having at least 5-10% zinc or titanium. And, wear a hat!
You can also try over-the-counter bleaching creams if your brown spots are recent and not too dark. The bleaching creams are 2% hydroquinone. There have been some questions raised about the safety of hydroquinones in Europe and the European Union has banned them. Drugstore “bleaching” creams will cost under $50 and take effect in about 30 days. Prescription bleaching creams are usually 4% hydroquinone and will cost under $150, with some insurance plans covering them. Hydroquinones should be used for no more than 3 months at a time. Over-use can affect the skin adversely, so we review all our patients who are on hydroquinones to ensure such damage does not occur.
Bear in mind that continued sun exposure will stimulate the growth of brown spots on the face, so that the bleaching creams will not protect you against the regrowth of brown spots or the development of new ones: proper use of sunscreens is de rigeur.
There are also plant-based bleaching creams for treatment of age spots and brown spots on the face. These ingredients are ones like arbutin, thymol, and kojic acid. You are welcome to try them but they are less effective than prescription products.
Microdermabrasion and Peels are also options for brown spots. A good aesthetician can perform microdermabrasion or a low-strength peel, and these can often give good results as long as the problem is minimal to moderate. Usually a series is needed.
Many of my patients ask me how to get rid of brown spots on the face. The most effective treatment option for brown spots is a series of laser treatments. We use a combination of lasers, including advanced photofacial lasers, 532 nm lasers, Q-switched YAG lasers, and 570 nm lasers.
Having redness or broken blood vessels on your face or nose does not necessarily mean that you are an alcoholic, contrary to popular myth! Often people with Celt genes develop redness or even broken blood vessels on the nose and face, but it can happen to anyone. These changes can be caused by rosacea, sun damage, allergies (lots of nose blowing), or even some systemic diseases, like lupus.
You will need a doctor to help you figure out the cause of your redness. If redness is due to rosacea, the first step may be to look at lifestyle changes, like decreasing coffee or red wine consumption. But there are many effective
treatments for rosacea.
If the redness is due to sun damage, or you have rosacea, you may want to consider laser treatments to reduce the enlarged blood vessels or redness. The results are usually excellent. A series takes 3-6 months to complete, and you will need maintenance treatments once or twice a year.
Redness is often due to rosacea. If you think you have rosacea or are looking for treatment for rosacea, see your physician. The culprit can often be sun damage also. If your red and blotchy skin is due to sun damage, your best option is the combination of advanced photofacial lasers and a mixture of different wavelength treatments discussed above. The results are usually excellent. It takes about 6 months for the effects to be noticeable, and you will need maintenance treatments once a year.
Remember also that there are no creams for rosacea at this writing that can take away bad redness for anything longer than a few hours. Some people have tried hydrocortisone, and that may have a very temporary effect. But, you do not want to use hydrocortisone
for more than a few days.
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Dr. BCK Patel MD, FRCS
65 Mario Capecchi Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah, US
Dr. BCK Patel MD, FRCS
1054 E Riverside Dr Suite 201
Saint George, UT 84790
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