• Age Spot Laser Removal & Treatment


What are Sun Spots / Age Spots / Liver Spots / Solar Lentigo?

The above terms are all used to refer to a lesion known as a solar lentigo. Solar lentigos are benign harmless brown patches on the skin that are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This causes localised multiplication of melanin producing cells and accumulation of melanin within the skin.

What do Solar Lentigos look like?

A solar lentigo is a flat brown well defined patch. They can be round, oval or irregularly shaped and range from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter. They can be slightly scaly. They are typically found on uncovered sun exposed skin such as the back of the face and back of the hands. The photos below illustrate the appearance of solar lentigos on the back of the hands and face.

Age Spots / Liver Spots / Lentigos

Photos courtesy of Derm Net NZ


Pigmented lesions must be correctly diagnosed and confirmed as benign prior to treatment. Certain types of dangerous skin cancer such as lentigo maligna and melanoma must not be missed. Dr Hussein will take a history and carefully look at your lesion and examine it with a special instrument called a dermatoscope. If there is any suspicion a biopsy may need to be taken.


DrH treatment of preference for small sun spots is the Picosecond 755nm or the Picosecond 532nm laser (Cynosure Picosure Pro). This is a type of laser that is specifically designed for removal of melanin containing pigment lesions within the skin. This type of laser has now replaced the older generation nanosecond Q switch laser.

Picosecond 755nm allows for safe treatment of pigmented skin lesions such as sun spots without causing damage to surrounding structures. As a result the treatment can be completed quickly and with minimal pain. The sun spot will become darker, crust and fall away, It will take approximately 4-6 weeks for the slightly lighter area of skin to normalise.

If there is a significant number of sunspots or lesions that are all over the face it will be more sensible to opt for a treatment of the whole face to avoid patchy lightening by the laser. A suitable way of treating the whole face for multiple sun spots and sundamage is by using a full face treatment such as Sciton HALO BBL. This removes the entire damaged layer. It takes around a week to recover but the whole outer layer of your skin will reset nicely from pigment and sun damage.

Dr Hussein has included a video of treatment and some before and after photos so you can see how this treatment works. Occasionally Dr Hussein may opt for a different type of laser such as the Erbium YAG laser. This is sometimes used for a type of benign lesion known as a Macular Seborrheic Keratosis which can sometimes look similar to a solar lentigo. If patients present to Dr Hussein with multiple solar lentigos Dr Hussein may recommend a full-face laser resurfacing treatment such as CO2 laser resurfacing or Fraxel 1927nm laser resurfacing. This will give a much better result when there are many solar lentigos to be treated.


Transient darkening (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) of the treated area can occur in some cases. This is more likely in darker skins (e.g. Asian, Oriental). It may initially appear that treatment has been unsuccessful but this is not actually the case. This type of darkening is transient and unlike a solar lentigo it will lighten over the course of a few weeks. Dr Hussein may even prescribe a cream to speed this process up.

Occasionally a blister may form. This type of blistering is due to separation of the outer layer of skin from the deeper layer of skin. It is not harmful and should heal without scarring.

Demarcation can occur. This is because the skin which forms in the treated area is new. It may be slightly lighter than the surrounding skin. If the patient also has many freckles it is important to note that this patch of new skin may be freckle free and this may be noticeable.

Side effects like scarring and permanent hypopigmentation are extremely rare in this kind of treatment as Dr Hussein is and experienced laser surgeon.


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