The result of chronic sun exposure, sunspots and age spots develop on the backs of the hands when too much pigment is produced-just like on the face. In fact, some of the treatments used for discoloration on the face can be used on the hands, too.
To treat lighter spots, a combination of prescription-strength hydroquinone and prescription-strength retinoids can be used, usually for about three months. Hydroquinone blocks the enzyme production that causes pigmentation, while retinoids increase cell turnover.
The hands can tolerate more irritation than the face, so you may not experience as much dryness as you would when using these ingredients on facial skin. However, just like on the face, sunscreen is a must.
Light chemical peels are also an option, offering cumulative spot-diminishing results. The exfoliating acid causes skin to shed discoloration faster.
You can expect skin to be dry for a few days post-treatment, but the backs of the hands won’t “peel” like the face does.
For the most stubborn spots, your doctor can “lift” discoloration with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or a fractional resurfacing laser. IPL breaks up sunspots with a beam of light and feels similar to the snap of a rubber band. Lasers are smart for darker spots and patients who can’t afford too much downtime.
As an added bonus, many doctors believe that both IPL and fractional treatments improve collagen production, and consequently, the overall look of your skin.
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