How Can I Erase the Liver Spots on My Face, Hands & Chest?
What are Those Brown Spots?
Not all brown spots on the skin are caused by sun damage.
Some brown spots on the face (called “melasma”) can be caused by a surge in hormone levels due to pregnancy, oral contraceptive use or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause. Unlike sun spots, melasma spots tend to fade once hormones moderate. A dermatologist can diagnose melasma by using a special light. Brown spots are mainly a cosmetic problem — they cause no health risks — but they can be annoying. There are ways to tone them down and camouflage them.
To minimize the appearance of brown spots, you have a few options. Here are the pros and cons of each option.
Laser resurfacing is perhaps the most effective way to remove brown spots. You get these done in a physicians office.
How it works: Laser treatments target the melanin in your skin and are highly effective. The top layer of skin where the spots are is removed via lasers in a procedure that takes on average about 20 minutes. Scabs will form within 24 hours where you were treated. Once the procedure is over, you can use Vaseline on the spots to protect them and you’ll need to stay out of the sun.
You’ll find your spots will have faded with the treatments and some may disappear. The best news is once the skin heals, you’ll find your skin is much smoother and sunspot-free.
Over-the-Counter Skin Lightening Creams
OTC skin lightening creams can be effective in lightening your brown spots. Look for products with 2% hydroquinone in them. Popular products include ZO Melamin & Melamix, SkinMedica Lytera. Usually anything over 2% hydroquinone requires a prescription. These should help lighten your brown spots, but they likely won’t go away completely.
Prescription Strength Creams
Prescription-strength creams contain 4% hydroquinone and are arguably more effective than the OTC versions. But they are also harsher on your skin. Popular products include ZO Melamin & Melamix, SkinMedica Lytera. Usually anything over 2% hydroquinone requires a prescription.
Some doctors prescribe Tretinoin to combat sunspots. It comes in many brand forms. The best of which include ZO Retamax and SkinMedica Retinols. There are also generic versions available. These generic versions do not have the extra technology designed with them so they tend to irritate the skin more than the name brands do.
Glycolic acid peels administered by a doctor work by removing the top layer of skin. You may need to be treated more than once and you should always keep skin out of the sun after a chemical peel.
It’s highly recommended that you wait until after pregnancy or breastfeeding to treat melasma or sunspots and always, always, keep your treated skin out of the sun by wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 50 and a hat.