Saturday, July 18, 2009


There are several procedures available to counteract ‘age spots’ that can only be done by licensed professionals. They are more effective than OTC products but also have more serious side effects.

The methods used by an esthetician are less severe, have fewer side effects, take longer to achieve noticeable effects than those used by a physician, but are also less obvious to others. The most common are described below.

The first method is microdermabrasion. A small appliance blows either sodium or aluminum crystals against the client’s skin through a small nozzle to loosen only the dead surface skin cells. The same nozzle then vacuums the spent crystals and loosened skin cells back into the machine. Next a treatment serum formulated to slow or halt pigment production in the lower layers of the skin is applied. Micro-dermabrasion is painless; causes only slight, temporary reddening; and is almost undetectable to others. If renewing your skin in a confidential way appeals to you, microdermabrasion is the way to go.

Since a series of treatments (usually 6) must be done to produce good results, this process can be more costly in both dollars and time. The price of home lightening products will also add to the finally cost.

Using a home product is required in order to continue the lightening process between professional treatments. Although UV light must avoided, makeup can be used as usual. My clients have reported that their friends only noticed a subtle improvement in skin appearance, a youthful glow, after several treatments but were unsure what my client was doing to achieve those results.

Acid peels can also be done by an esthetician. The percentage of acid is lower than those products used by a physician, requiring them to be applied in a series of treatments. Depending on the strength of the acid, reddening will occur following by peeling.

If having large patches of dead skin peeling from your face for a few days is a problem, acid peels may not be the treatment for you. Since the protective layers of skin are stripped away during this process, all UV light must be avoided otherwise more sun damage to the lower layers of the skin will result.

If you wish to have quicker results, physician-based treatments may be your choice. They use stronger, more intrusive products and processes but have deeper, longer-lasting effects.

For example, dermabrasion, removes the upper 7 layers of the skin by sanding them away with a wire brush. The patient is given a local anesthetic for the process and healing is similar to any surgical procedure including wrapping the face in surgical dressings.

A physician can also administer much stronger chemical peels than those used by an esthetician.

Obviously the best way to deal with ‘age spots’ is to avoid them in the first place with good quality sunscreens and sunblocks. Treating the spots after they appear is more costly and time consuming.

Whatever you choose to do…I hope I have given you some choices to think about.



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