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Sarasota Dermatology Blog

Dalmatians should have spots, but should we?

Posted on 12. Oct, 2010 by in Cosmetic Treatments, Lasers, Lentigo, Photodynamic Therapy, Skin Conditions, Sun Spots

Your grandma called them ‘liver spots’,  your mom called them ‘age spots’,  but do those pesky brown spots on our face and hands really come from our liver or from growing old?

Brown spots are also known as “solar lentigo” or lentigines.

Brown Spots on Face

Sun Spots on Hands

Brown Blemishes on Back or Chest

Brown spots on Face

Brown spots on Hands

Brown spots on Back or Chest

What is a lentigo or lentigines?
A lentigo is circumscribed (circular in shape) and somewhat irregularly shaped light tan to brown color spots.  It typically measures about 1 cm to 3cm but can be larger.  A lentigo is normally flat and smooth appearing, however, it can appear thickened and scaly.

What are the causes of lentigines?
The sun is the major cause of lentigines.  Acute (sunburn) or chronic exposure to the sun causes a localized proliferation (overgrowth) of melanocytes (cells that pigment the skin). 

Why don’t kids get Lentigines? 
Solar damage is an accumulative effect.  We usually see lentigines start as early as people in their 30’s and 40’s.

Who is most at risk?
Lentigines are most common in Caucasians but can be seen in Asians.

Where do they occur?
Typically lentigines occur on sun exposed areas of the body.  Forehead, cheeks, back shoulders, arms, shins and chest.

Are freckles lentigines?
No. Freckles (Ephelis) are due to genetics, specifically the presence of dominant melanocortin 1 receptor gene variants. Lentigines are due to solar damage.  Freckles fade in the winter Lentigines do not.

Can you get rid of them?
The answer is yes and no. Lentigines on the face, hands and chest can be treated with Laser therapy (IPL) intense pulsed light.  The face can also be treated with products that lightened such as Hydroquinone and Retin-A products.

What treatment does Dr. Abrams Recommend?
The most common procedure Dr. Abrams recommends is the IPLTM (Intense Pulsed Light) photorejuvenation treatment. It is a gentle, long-lasting treatment that smothers and evens out skin tones. Improvements are gradual.  Click here for more information

Can you still enjoy the outdoors?
Yes, but you must take a proactive approach and apply sunscreen before you head outdoors and it is essential that sunscreen be reapplied every two hours, and after you swim.  No sunscreen is a one- time application only!!

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