To fade sun-induced speckling on the hands, doctors may reach for any number of energy-based devices. (Before committing to one, “have a dermatologist examine your hands for atypical spots and potential skin cancers,” suggests Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Michael Kassardjian.)
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy scores points because it can tackle a broad swath of flecks on fair skin, in three to five treatments, with little downtime. “It’s strictly for flat sunspots and works best on those that are smaller than a dime,” says New York dermatologist Estee Williams, MD. After zapping, the spots darken and flake off over the course of several days, revealing unsullied skin beneath.
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For larger, more concentrated splotches, pigment-seeking Q-switched lasers, like the Ruby, Alexandrite and Nd: YAG, can safely treat a range of skin types, minimizing or all-out erasing marks in a single appointment. “The area develops a white frost or pink welt, which transforms within hours to a dark scab or flat pink stain, healing completely in about one week,” says New York dermatologist Mitalee Christman, MD.
For widespread dappling coupled with crepiness, there’s the Fraxel DUAL, a resurfacing laser that creates microscopic wounds, instigating a repair process for stronger, smoother, more even-toned skin. The Dual has also been shown to eradicate precancerous lesions, “preventing their progression into full-blown squamous cell carcinomas,” notes New York dermatologist Kenneth Howe, MD. Expect about a week of downtime, during which skin looks sunburned, then bronzed and crumbly.
For those concerned more about skin’s springiness than spots, radio-frequency tools, like Thermage and Pellevé, can thicken and tighten the skin of the hands with zero downtime, says Miami dermatologist Janelle Vega, MD. Sun avoidance and protection are extra crucial when recovering from light and laser treatments.