As we age, collagen production slows and elastin, the substance that gives elasticity to the skin, loses some of its spring. Dead skin cells do not shed as quickly and turnover of new skin cells may be reduced. Over time, the skin begins to develop fine wrinkles. It becomes thinner and more “transparent” with a loss of underlying fat under the cheeks and around the eyes. A number of external factors combine with the normal aging process to prematurely age the skin. The number one culprit is sun exposure which can cause “photo-damage”: age spots, blotches, fine lines and wrinkles and a roughened skin texture. The amount of photoaging a person develops depends on the cumulative amount of skin exposure and his/her skin type (see Your Skin Type). People with fair skin who have a history of sun exposure develop more signs of photoaging than those with dark skin. In the darkest skin, the signs of photoaging are usually limited to fine wrinkles and a mottled complexion. With further photo-damage, the skin loses its ability to repair itself. Ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and attacks elastin. The skin loosens and becomes wrinkled and leathery. Actinic keratoses (AKs) and skin cancer may develop.
Age spots and other changes in skin coloration can be a normal part of the aging process or a result of photoaging. Often people find their brown spots, also known as “liver spots”, to be unattractive. There are several ways to address them including a variety of topical skin care products for bleaching the spots. In addition, intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments, the copper bromide laser, cryotherapy (freezing therapy) and microdermabrasion (SilkPeel with DermalInfusion) can effectively remove brown spots. Dr. Rick Noodleman appeared on KGO Channel 7’s “A View from the Bay” demonstrating the use of the copper bromide laser on a patient’s hands to reduce age spots. To schedule a consultation, please call 877-AGE-DEFY or contact us online.