Shedding Light on Sunspots

Even in our relatively rainy state, it is possible to develop cosmetic problems associated with sun exposure. The small discolored patches that age the skin may occur on the arms, chest, neck, and face. They may be few or many but, in any form, they need to be addressed. One way to do this is with IPL.

What is IPL?

IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light. It may sound interesting that sunspots can be broken apart by light when it is light that causes them in the first place. IPL is not the same as laser treatments, which also affect the skin with certain wavelengths of light. It is a nonablative process through which short pulses of strong, visible light is directed at a target area on which sunspots have developed. The broad-spectrum of light rays permeate the hemoglobin and melanin that are present in dark spots and vascular lesions. The absorption of these rays heats these substances, dismantling their particles so they surface more quickly. When the pigmentation reaches the surface, it can be released naturally, leaving lighter, evener skin behind.

Can Hyperpigmentation Return after IPL?

Hyperpigmentation can occur as a result of UV exposure, hormones, and other factors. A series of IPL treatments address the pigment issues that are present in superficial tissue, whereas the damage that leads to sunspots may reside deeper in the dermis. The good news is that it can take years for new spots to become visible. The better the skin is protected with broad-spectrum sunscreen, the less likely it is that significant hyperpigmentation will occur in the future.

As we make our way into a drearier time of year, the time to address sunspots couldn’t be better. IPL treatments are convenient and comfortable. No downtime is necessary after each session, but it is beneficial to undergo treatment when you can stay out of the sun.

The skin often needs some help to stay radiant and youthful-looking. The team at Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center has the training, experience, and selection of treatments that are needed to support skin of all ages. To learn more about IPL and other modalities for sunspots, call 206-859-5777 and schedule a consultation in our Seattle or Renton office.

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