How Sunspots Are Burned Off the Face With Liquid Nitrogen
Removing Dark Round Spots on the Face
Over the past few years, I noticed that a little dark spot on my face had grown to about the size of a dime. In some ways, it resembled a giant freckle. The spot was cause enough for my general practitioner to send me to a dermatologist.
The dermatologist took a quick look at it and said the spot was a sunspot or aging spot—a precancerous spot caused by exposure to the sun. These spots are common on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun, like the face, neck, and hands. Sun spots can also occur on the legs and arms.
If you visit your dermatologist for their opinion about spots, be prepared for the following questions:
- How long has the spot been there?
- What do you do for a living? (They want to know if you work outside or are exposed to hazards.)
- Have you noticed any changes to the spot?
- Has it become larger, darker, or discolored over time?
The dermatologist is likely to recommend removing the sun spots as soon as you notice them. In some cases, these spots can turn into cancer.
How Sun Spots Are Removed
While there are natural remedies for removal, if you want to have the spot removed immediately there is a relatively simple procedure can be done in the doctor's office. The doctor doesn't use any anesthesia, so you may feel pain. The dermatologist will use liquid nitrogen on a swab and apply it, using a slight amount of pressure, for about one minute. The liquid nitrogen will burn the sunspot. Over the next few weeks, a scab will form and the spot will fall off.
Often times people are interested having spots removed for cosmetic as well as health reasons. Once my sun spot was removed and healed, the discolored spot is no longer visible on my nose. For my own vanity, I think it's worth getting them removed, but if I had several that didn't pose a health risk, I think I'd live with the spots.
Other Dermatological Ways to Remove Sun Spots
If you have multiple sun spots or aging spots that you would like to have removed, there are a variety of other procedures that you can have done at your dermatologist's office.
- Chemical Peel: A chemical is applied to your skin to cause a massive exfoliation. Over the next two weeks, the skin on your face will peel off and new skin cells will regenerate. There are three types of peels: superficial, medium, and deep. The type is determined by the depth and severity of the burn.
- Intense Pulsed Light: Mostly used for capillary damage and hair removal, IPL is administered using broad spectrum light therapy.
- Laser Therapy: A laser is used to target pigmentation but not normal healthy skin cells. The laser pulse feels like being flicked with a rubber band.
- Microdermabrasion: The peeling of the skin using crystals.
Natural Remedies for Sun Spot Removal
Apply to sun spot daily for 10 minutes
Lemons are a natural skin lightener and the acid helps remove dead skin cells
Lemon juice can make your skin sensitive to the sun. Be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat when you are treating your skin.
Milk, Buttermilk, or Yogurt
Apply to sun spots multiple times a day for 10 minutes
Dairy products contain lactic acid that helps skin cells regenerate
Vitamins A, E, or C
Apply topically (not orally). Break open the vitamin capsule and apply directly to the sun spot
Vitamins A, E, and C are antioxidants. They restore cell functions and will help aid in the healing of your skin.
Garlic or Red Onions
Open garlic clove or cut onion and apply topically for 10 minutes
The acid in the garlic and onion will cause your skin to peel.
Watch your skin for irritation from the acid and stop if you notice any adverse reactions.
Here is my experience with having a sunspot removed:
- When your face is burned with liquid nitrogen, it creates a sore on the side of your face that is a few millimeters larger than the sunspot.
- The spot on my face started oozing a clear liquid that is somewhat similar to the ooze of a bad scrape or a burn.
- After a few days, the spot will begin to form a scab.
- Expect your pain to subside each day. You might want to take a pain reliever like Tylenol until the pain is gone.
- Resist the urge to touch or pick at the scab because it can become infected.
- The scab will eventually fall off, and the sunspot will be gone. Many people do report that the scar will last for several months before it finally goes away.
- If you have to do many face-to-face meetings, you might want to wait to have a sun spot removed. The sore is pretty unattractive while it's healing.
Preventing Sun Spots
Exposure to the sun causes sun spots. My dermatologist gave me these recommendations to prevent them:
- Wear sunscreen on all exposed skin. If you're out in the sun for more than three hours or go in the water, reapply sunscreen.
- Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to keep the sun off of the skin.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and ears.
Questions & Answers
What if I refuse the procedure. What would happen?
It depends on why the doctor is recommending the spot is removed. You’ll have to ask your dermatologist what the consequences could be if the spot remains.