What is the Difference Between Freckles and Age Spots

What is the Difference Between Freckles and Age Spots

Freckles and age spots both involve brown spots of skin, especially on the face. However, they are typically referred to, treated, and thought of differently. Age spots and freckles do have some similarities; however, they are two different types of hyperpigmentation that can be treated similarly.

What Makes the Skin Darken?

The skin darkens due to damage to the skin cells, especially the cells that produce melanin or pigment. Everyone has a regular pigment that his or her skin produces, whether fair or dark skin. When the skin cells DNA becomes damaged, either due to the sun, trauma or age, then the melanin production can be damaged. This can lead to hyperpigmentation, or dark spots.

What are Freckles?

Freckles typically are small and occur on those who have fair skin, especially red headed people. They typically occur on children and fade as a person ages, although a person with hereditary freckles can have them for his or her whole life. Sun exposure typically causes them; therefore, the more time someone spends in the sun, the more freckles he or she will get. The freckles may also become darker after spending time in the sun without broad sunscreen protection. Freckles tend to be an inherited trait, especially as they go hand in hand with other hereditary traits, including red hair and fair skin. For those where it is inherited, the appearance of freckles is inevitable, however consistent use of sunscreen can help to minimize just how many and how dark they will be.

What are Age Spots?

Age spots tend to be bigger than freckles and occur due to aging, as the name implies. They can also be slightly raised. Typically, age spots occur on the hands and face, rather than the entire body – unless you’ve experience a severe sunburn, on your back or shoulders, then dark spots can appear in these areas as well.

Although sun exposure plays a significant role in the development of age spots, they tend to occur due to deterioration of the skin cells that is part of the natural aging process. The more time a person has spent in the sun, the more damage to their cells, which is why age spots are connected to sun damage. The years of sun damage can lead to more melanin production in a certain area, causing an age spot. This is why wearing sun protective clothing, as well as broad spectrum sunscreen is vitally important from an early age.

The Difference Between Freckles and Age Spots

The main difference between freckles and age spots is the age of the person and the size and location of the spots. Freckles are small, can appear anywhere, and are directly attributed to sun exposure in those susceptible; they are also inherited. Freckles can appear on anyone of any age, especially children. Age spots, are not hereditary,  can occur to anyone of any skin type, tend to develop on the hands and face, can also be larger in size and begins to be noticed in middle age.

Treatment of Dark Spots and Freckles

Whether a dark spot due to sun damage or freckles from the same or genetics, there are only two ways to minimize their appearance. Prevention with the use of sunscreen year round and generously applied every two hours and using a dark spot treatment. Make sure the sunscreen you are using blocks both UVA and UVB rays and that the treatment for dark spots is one that is effective with skin lighteners such as Vitamin C and licorice root extract.

Do you have a question about your scar or dark spot? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are two skin treatments that may sound similar, but they are actually two very different procedures. Dermabrasion works on more layers of skin, so it can treat deep wrinkles, scars, and hyperpigmentation. Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, only provides an intensive exfoliation that rejuvenates the skin, but does not work on skin problems that run deep. Before getting one of these treatments, you should understand the difference so that you get the right treatment for your situation.

What is Dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is a treatment in which a dermatologist or plastic surgeon uses a special instrument to basically sand your skin. This allows new, smoother skin to replace the skin that has been treated. Dermabrasion is often used to remove scars on the skin, especially the face, such as acne scars or pox marks. It can also work on deep wrinkles and other skin problems. However, it cannot help with some skin problems, such as pigmented birthmarks, moles, or burn scars. It can also cause discoloration or scarring in those with darker skin. Dermabrasion is typically performed in a doctor’s office and requires some type of anesthetic. You might also be given medicine to help you relax.

What is Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is performed by spraying small exfoliating crystals on the skin to remove the unsightly or damaged sin. It is basically an intensive exfoliation and skin rejuvenating treatment, rather than any type of surgery and does not require any anesthetic. It works best on skin problems such as age spots, dark spots, or dull skin, although it can also help with fine lines and wrinkles. It does not work on removing skin problems that effect many layers of skin, including stretch marks, wrinkles, scars, or deep acne scars. It only makes subtle changes, improving your complexion, and does not affect the skin’s pigment, so it is safe on all skin types and skin colors.

What is the Difference Between the Two?

Dermabrasion is more invasive than microdermabrasion. It affects deeper layers of the skin, so it can work on scars and other significant skin problems. However, it also means there is a longer healing time. You might feel a burning sensation for a few days, and you might be given medicine to help with the discomfort. The healing time lasts between 7 and 10 days, although the skin may remain pink for about six to eight weeks. You have to avoid sunlight until the pink color fades. Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, has a smaller window of healing. The skin will be temporarily pink, but within 24 hours it is well.

Because dermabrasion is a more invasive treatment, it also has more possible side effects. It could cause uneven changes in skin color that may be temporary or permanent, it might cause a scar, infection may occur, and there may be a darkening of the skin. Microdermabrasion on the other hand has minimal side effects, typically just the potential for irritation if the crystals get into eyes. Once you have undergone the treatment, be sure to take care of the skin to ensure it heals well and does not lead to more problems.

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Do These Skin Lighteners Work?

Do These Skin Lighteners Work?

Many people try to find the perfect skin lightener to help fade unsightly scars, but are faced with a dilemma as they try to determine which products on the market actually work. Additionally, you have to be careful about using some of the products out there that are slightly effective, yet dangerous. Before you choose a scar treatment to reduce the look of your scars or dark spots, you should know more about the different ingredients. Some of the most common treatments for skin lightening, include lemon juice, hydroquinone, kojic acid, and vitamin C.

Lemon Juice on Acne Scars

Lemons are truly a versatile citrus fruit, with a variety of health, beauty and home cleaning uses. Lemons contain vitamin C, limonene, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), hesperidin, quercetin, naringenin, and other phytonutrients that are beneficial to skin health. Many studies have found beneficial uses of lemons, if consumed, such as aiding to reduce acne. However, lemon juice directly on your skin can cause photosensitivity, and since UV rays can darken your scar, it is not advisable to do so.

Read: How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone has become a popular skin lightening cream, and is a popular ingredient in scar treatment products. Hydroquinone inhibits melatonin, which is the protein that provides your skin color, so it does lighten the skin. However, it can be toxic in high concentrations, including having carcinogenic properties and contains mercury. It has also been associated with ochronosis, a disfiguring skin condition that darkens the skin. It can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, which can increase your risk of sunburn. It is common to have allergic reactions to the chemical and due to this, some countries have banned hydroquinone. It is best to not use hydroquinone and rely upon other treatments to help heal your skin.

Read: The Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation.

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid comes from Japanese mushrooms and is also a byproduct of the fermentation process that produces sake. It can lighten skin, but it does not help diminish other aspects of scars. It can be dangerous to use because it can cause heightened skin sensitivity, cause hormone disruption, and lead to allergic reactions. It also can increase the risk of sun damage because it weakens the natural defenses against UV rays. Therefore, it is best to avoid kojic acid.

Read: Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and important vitamin that promotes the body’s natural healing processes. Many people know to take vitamin C when fighting a cold or the flu, but it can also help your skin heal from injury and trauma, including reducing scars. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C fight the free radicals that cause cellular damage to the skin, which includes to the melatonin that affects your skin color. Therefore, it can help to lighten the skin and fade scars, especially when using a scar treatment that has a stable form of Vitamin C. It goes beyond just lightening the skin; it also promotes healthy collagen production, which can reduce the size and appearance of scars and keep your skin healthy.

When choosing a scar or skin lightening treatment, you should avoid the harsh skin lighteners such as kojic acid and hydroquinone, and stick with products that have licorice root and especially vitamin C.

Do you have a question about your scars or dark spots? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help.

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Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?

Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?

Kojic acid is a substance produced by certain Japanese mushrooms. It is also a by-product of the fermentation process utilized in making sake (Japanese rice wine.) It is often found in scar therapies thanks to its ability to lighten skin, including dark scars and other dark spots. However, kojic acid is a potentially dangerous ingredient and individuals considering a scar therapy cream containing kojic acid should learn more about its dangers before deciding to use it.

The short answer to the question, “Does Kojic Acid Work on Acne Scars?” is yes – but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Like hydroquinone, kojic acid can lighten dark scars and spots and even improve melasma (a skin discoloration associated with pregnancy and oral contraceptive use), but its effectiveness is limited to the dark pigment of scars and it does not address other scar needs such as flattening, softening, or reducing in any way other than lightening. In addition, studies suggest some potentially serious health effects.

Heightened Skin Sensitivity and Allergic Reactions: Skin Deep, a database of thousands of cosmetics and their safety profiles, cites kojic acid as moderately to highly hazardous as a cosmetic ingredient, pointing to concerns such as allergies, increased skin sensitivity, and possible hormone disruption. Skin sensitization is a problem because it can result in allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis can cause bumps or a rash, pain, itching, blisters, and dry patches of skin. Its symptoms may mimic those of contact with poison ivy.

Increased Risk of Sun Damage: Kojic acid may also make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage. That’s because it can weaken your skin’s natural defense against harmful UV rays by reducing the amount of melanin present.

Lack of Research: Another problem with kojic acid is the lack of substantial research done to confirm its safety. Some studies suggest a possible link to cell mutation and tumor formation in mammals. Animal studies show kidney, liver, cardiovascular, respiratory, and other side effects, and extensive enough research has not been done to prove its safety for humans.

Because of these concerns, kojic acid is best avoided in scar therapies and other cosmetics. Fortunately, there is no need to trade value for safety. Look for a scar therapy that contains ingredients known to be effective and safe, such as:

Dimethicone Silicone: Promotes hydration and improves the appearance of the scar, including color and size.

Vitamin C: Normalizes collagen and lightens the scar.

ProBiosyn-4: Restores the lipid biolayer, improving hydration and skin elasticity and reducing scar visibility.

Besides kojic acid, other ingredients you should avoid in your scar therapy because they are unsafe or ineffective include hydroquinone, vitamin E, preservatives (including parabens), and fragrances. Also beware of ingredients that, while not necessarily unsafe, may have no scar healing benefits at all, such as petroleum jelly and onion extract.

Along with your scar therapy, be sure to avoid smoking, get plenty of exercise, and consume fruits, vegetables, protein, and other healthy foods for optimal scar healing.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is one option may people explore when they want to improve the appearance of wrinkles, lines, blotches, or scars caused by acne, too much sun exposure, aging, or other skin damage. Laser skin resurfacing works by removing layers of skin, thereby encouraging the growth of new skin cells and resulting in younger-looking, tighter, and smoother skin. This may be the only procedure done, or it may be done at the same time as other cosmetic procedures.

Specific areas of the skin can be targeted with laser skin resurfacing, such as laugh lines, smoker’s lines, crow’s feet, acne scars, or frown furrows, or the entire face may be treated for the most dramatic results. The procedure is also used in some cases to remove warts, pre-cancerous lesions, benign tumors, and certain skin cancers.

It’s important to understand that this procedure works by first creating a wound, and the skin’s natural healing processes work to form new, fresher-looking skin. During healing, this wound must be cared for like any other wound to ensure the best results.

ReadWhat Affects Wound Healing?

If you think laser skin resurfacing may be right for you, the first step is to consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to discuss your options. If it is determined that you are a good candidate, there are several things you can do right off the bat to ensure that you get the results you want.

First, make sure to follow your doctor’s pre-procedure instructions. He or she will probably counsel you to avoid taking things like ibuprofen and vitamin E, which can affect clotting. You should also avoid smoking, which delays the healing process and exacerbates scarring. In addition, your doctor will probably want you to take an antibiotic, which is important in preventing infection – another factor that affects scarring and final results.

Laser skin resurfacing is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you will not have an overnight hospital stay. You may receive local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the area being treated and your and your doctor’s preferences.

After the procedure some patients need light dressings, but most are just instructed to use topical hydrating ointments instead of true bandages. Generally, after the first day, you will be instructed to clean the treated areas several times a day and apply an ointment to prevent scabs, which worsen scarring. Moisture is an important part of the healing process.

To maximize your results, stay out of the sun or, at a minimum, use sunscreen every time you go outside. A scar treatment can also minimize your risk of developing lasting scars from the procedure and improve your overall result. Choose one that contains ingredients known to be effective and safe, and avoid those that contain questionable ingredients such as hydroquinone.

The skin may take up to three weeks to heal. The skin will typically have a pink appearance that may last for several weeks. This can be easily covered with makeup, but be sure to apply your scar treatment before your makeup, as it does its best work when applied directly to your skin. Swelling is normal and using an extra pillow or two at night to sleep in a more upright position can help.

Laser skin resurfacing is a highly effective procedure and many people who choose it are thrilled with the results. Combine it with an effective scar therapy and impeccable adherence to your doctor’s instructions for younger, smoother, more beautiful skin.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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