Sun spots are also known as liver spots. They are usually found on face, hands, and arms. Sun exposure and aging process are the most common factors that contribute to this form of hyperpigmentation.
Usually, sun spots are not life-threatening. However, they can hurt your self-image especially when you have them on your face.
You have a few options to remove sun spots on the face. When choosing a treatment, you probably have to consider the price and time factor. Liver spots are not easily treated as they take time to fade. So, it depends on how long you are willing to wait to see improvements.
If you want something that does not cost too much, you can try hydroquinone. It is a chemical-based topical therapy that interferes the production of melanin. You can easily get anything below 2 percent hydroquinone at the over-the-counter. For stronger concentration, you need a prescription. Even though the prescription works faster, you still have to wait a few months before any significant changes take place.
The application of hydroquinone is under debate as it concerns the safe use. Studies show that when used in large volume, it can cause cancer. Yet, it is still widely used by dermatologists to treat sun spots. For safety reasons, you should use it no more than 4 months. Then only start to use it again after a break of 4 months.
You can use facial peels to lighten sun spots. You can use them along with other topical creams for faster results. Usually, the peels use retinotids, hydroquinone, and alpha hydroxyl acids. Peels help reveal a new layer of skin by removing the outermost layer of the skin together with excess melanin.
It is hard to say which peel works the best. There are various ingredients used in the peels to provide superficial exfoliation. It is a matter of preference.
If you like, you can follow up with hydroquinone treatment after a few weeks of a peel. You can check out spas or dermatological clinics to see what kind of peels they offer. The only difference is the strength of the chemical they use. Of course, price is another thing to consider.
The deeper peels can get rid of more than a layer of skin which is great for sun spot removal. But it does come with some risks especially when used on the face such as prolonged redness, scarring, and skin discoloration. Superficial peels still work as well. You just have to attend several sessions to get similar results as the deep peels.
If you want to avoid hydroquinone, then botanical extract is your best alternative as they come with minimal side effects. Choose skin lightening creams that contain arbutin, kojic acid, vitamin C, azelaic acid, and licorice extract. Here is the best treatment for sun spots that I highly recommend you to look at.
If topical treatments are not your option, then laser treatments like Intense Pulse Light or IPL can help reduce liver spots. You have to sit in for about 4 session with one month apart. You should see results in a few weeks.
There is no guarantee that after the treatment, the spots will not come back. Once you have sun spots, the melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin) are already activated. You can’t switch them off. So, any time your skin is exposed to the sun, chances are you will see those pesky spots again. Thus, there is no best way to remove sun spots for good. You have to continue with the maintenance course to maintain the results.
If you want to prevent sun spots, then use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or above each day. You still use it even on rainy days. Make sure it contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Sometimes, sun spots can turn out to be melanoma. So, it is advisable to see a doctor whenever you notice some strange changes in the spots such as abnormal size, unusual discoloration and bleeding.