Dr. Carin Litani
Summer is over, but brown spots are still here 😩
Summer is over but those brown spots are lingering under your hat and scarf. Your tan may fade but those pesky brown spots are here to stay!
Topical creams and lasers both are wonderful at getting rid of those spots and brightening up your complexion. However, they are not worth investing in unless you are committed to sunscreen and NO MORE TANNING. I tell my patients all the time that request a laser treatment who will not stop sitting in the sun that they can just give me the cash because any improvement from the laser will be gone the first time they sit in the sun. It’s not worth it unless you make that committment!
Also, certain popular lasers like the Intense Pulsed Light are very risky to use on tanned skin (risk of blisters and worsening brown patches!) I love this laser and try to have it done myself 1-2 times a year but only in the late fall/winter/early spring because my skin gets a bit darker in the summer despite wearing hats, and sunscreen, and sun shirts, and sitting in the shade and under the umbrella. I do my best but I still have to chase my kids when they run into the sunlight and I still have to play with them in the pool or at the beach. My brown spots from my youth have a great memory. So I brown up a bit and Ruth Tedaldi yells at me but I am only human and I won’t wear a tent like she does.
So, how can we prevent and clear up brown spots?
1. Stop tanning- no sitting in the sun and definitely no tanning booths.
2. Find a sunscreen you don’t hate, buy a few, and keep it in your bathroom, bag and car.
Wear it everyday and please reapply a few times during the day…like, every time you get into your car. (sunscreen brushes are great for the car).
3. Wear a wide brimmed hat and a UPF 50 long sleeve shirt at the beach/pool.
4. Invest in good skin lightening creams like Skinceuticals® Discoloration Defense, Skin Medica’s Lytera/Lyetra 2.0, ZO Medical Melamin. Ask your dermatologist if you need a prescription strength retinoid or hydroquinone.
5. Ask your dermatologist if you are a *good candidate for a brown-spot targeting laser like the IPL mentioned above, the Clear and Brilliant, Fraxel Dual or other fractionated non ablative or ablative laser (which can also resurface and tighten while removing brown spots).
* Melasma is a different entity and may not always respond well to lasers so please speak with your dermatologist about this condition and your options.