Sun spots, sometimes called age spots or liver spots, are more properly referred to as solar lentigines. They are discolored patches caused by years of excessive exposure to the damaging ultraviolet light from the sun. They are flat, dark-colored spots located on areas that get the most sun exposure, such as the face, hands, and shoulders. They are more commonly seen in light-skinned adults older than age 50 years, but younger people, and darker-skinned people, can also get them.
Freckles are small brown spots that appear on sun-exposed skin. Although they resemble lentigines, freckles tend to appear in susceptible individuals after only a few hours to days of exposure to sunlight. Freckles also tend to fade away after sunlight exposure is reduced, such as during the winter. Sun spots and freckles do not cause any health problems and don’t require medical treatment. However, they can be very cosmetically displeasing, and many people would prefer to have them removed.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments are not the same thing as a laser treatment. In IPL, short bursts of high-intensity light are applied to the skin. The polychromatic light penetrates a very short distance under the skin and is preferentially absorbed by pigmented areas. The absorbed energy damages the pigments. The body responds by removing the damaged pigments and healing the area, restoring a more even skin tone.
To remove dark spots, several treatments need to be applied. Most commonly, a patient will need to undergo three to six treatments over the course of a month to remove freckles and/or sunspots. Darker spots tend to require more treatments. During your consultation, our medical team will create a treatment schedule tailored to your needs.
What to Expect
The duration of each treatment depends on how much surface area is being treated. If a patient is just getting part of the face treated, it can take less than 10 minutes. A patient having sunspots removed from the face, shoulders, hands, and legs might spend over an hour each time.
There may be some minor redness and swelling after an IPL treatment, but these effects should vanish within a few hours. More severe, but very rare, side effects include hypopigmentation (white) spots and hyperpigmentation (darkening) that develop in the treated area.
In most cases, patients are pleased with the results of an IPL treatment. Individuals with a smooth, even skin tone automatically look younger. It’s a good idea to use sunscreens and hats to protect the complexion after IPL treatments, or the sunspots and freckles will just come back.
Schedule Your Consultation
Contact SeaMist MedSpa in South Kingstown to schedule your consultation for IPL treatments. At SeaMist MedSpa, we offer a variety of different skin treatments to help you look and feel your best. We’ll work with you to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs, so you get the best results possible.