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Sun Spots: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2023

What is the Sun Spots?

Sun exposure or exposure to the ultra violet rays of the sun can lead to the development of dark patches on the skin. These patches are usually dark brown in color and can appear on any part of the body that has been exposed to the sun. Sun spots are also known as solar lentigines. Sun spots can also result in the formation of freckles. There are many natural as well as allopathic treatments available for treating sun spots. If the condition is severe then one should go for allopathic treatment. Sun spots can be treated by bleaches or fading creams and retinoids. Surgical intervention includes cryosurgery, laser treatment. Skin care treatment such as photofacial and chemical peels will also help in removing sun spots. There are many natural products that can be used to treat sun spots. They are lemon, castor oil, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, green tea, buttermilk, fuller’s earth, gram flour, cucumber, coconut water, papaya pulp and sandalwood pack. With their application on the affected areas the adverse effect of sun exposure can be reduced considerably. If you are going for drugs or chemicals in order to treat your sun spots you should consult a dermatologist before beginning treatment.

How is the Sun Spots treatment done?

Bleaching or fading creams can be used to treat sun spots. These products contain acids such as hydroquinone and kojic acids which lightens that area of the skin that has become darkened as a result of exposure to the rays of the sun. However if you need a higher concentration of hydroquinone acid to treat the sun spots, you will need a prescription. Retinoids are compounds that are derived from Vitamin A and are also used to treat sun spots. Both these products have to be applied continuously for at least a month in order to lighten freckles or sun spots.

Currently light treatments are implemented widely in order to quickly reduce sun spots. For example cryosurgery is a treatment where liquid nitrogen (which is extremely cold) is used to remove the freckles or solar lentigines. Laser surgery can be used to treat sun spots. Laser lights are very powerful and intense and heat can destroy unhealthy cells very easily. With laser lights the dermatologist can treat sun spots that remain concentrated within specific areas. Photofacial (which uses light-based technology) and chemical peels are other treatment options. Chemical peels can also be used to treat wrinkles that are results of sun damage.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People with sun spots, pigmented skin, freckles, skin discoloration can opt for this treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Hutchinson’s freckles and melanoma are skin cancers that are also characterized by the formation of sun spots. Treatment for these disorders will be different and would not be cured if the common interventional procedures for treating solar lentigines are implemented.

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Are there any side effects?

If you are using bleaches and retinol agents then you should avoid sun exposure, because it can worsen your condition. Laser treatment can also have adverse side effects. For example, the area of your skin which has received the laser light can become bruised. The area can also swell up and become red.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Avoid sun exposure and apply a medicated sun screen lotion on your skin before leaving your home. If you have bruising after receiving laser therapy, you can apply cold compress on the affected area.

How long does it take to recover?

If you use skin lightening products to remove the sun spots then it will take at least a month before you observe the positive effect. Interventional procedures like laser therapy, chemical peels etc are instant remedies and you will see a positive effect after 3 to 4 sessions.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

If you are going for skin lightening products, then medicated creams should cost around Rs 500 and if you are going for laser treatments or chemical peels then the cost will the somewhere around Rs 25000 per session.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Yes the result of the treatment will be permanent as long as you avoid sun exposure.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Castor oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, coconut water, gram flour, aloe vera are some of the natural products that can treat sun spots effectively.

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Written ByDr. Ganesh Avhad MD, DNB, FIDP, FILDermatology
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