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What is Sun Damage / Brown Spots?

Sun damage may occur in areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun. When sun damage affects the skin, flat brown spots may develop, sometimes referred to as “Sunspots” or lentigines. These spots are non-cancerous, harmless, and painless. They are very common in older demographics, but can affect all age groups depending on the extent of sun exposure in one’s lifetime. This condition is mostly cosmetically irritating, as it can be highly disruptive to one’s complexion.

Sunspots are generally different from Melasma, which are more difficult to treat and are generally due to other factors like hormones and genetics.

What causes Sun Damage / Brown Spots?

When the skin is exposed to the sun, UV rays penetrate into the different layers of our skin. Sometimes this can cause pigmentation-producing cells called Melanocytes to overproduce melanin, the molecule responsible for the coloration in our skin.

This increased concentration of melanin pigment in certain areas is what creates the appearance of dark spots and patches on the skin. They are the result of too much pigmentation production in a certain skin area by the melanocytes due to UV light.

What treatments are available for Sun Damage / Brown Spots?

There are quite a few treatments available for these pesky brown spots, and we happen to offer the most effective ones at Brandish Clinic!

Luminous IPL

Luminous IPL can be used to selectively target and diminish pigment molecules that comprise the dark brown patches. It uses Intense Pulsed Light to heat up and degrade the pigment molecules without interfering with surrounding tissues.  It also has the benefit of collagen stimulation with each treatment.


There are a couple different peels that we offer at Brandish Clinic to help clear the skin of brown spots. The Cosmelan System utilizes an in-office chemical peel that is maintained by at-home maintenance therapy. This two-step system offers patients a powerful way to treat brown spots and resistant pigments with great longevity. Jessner’s Chemical can also be used to help peel away the outer layer of skin, evening out the tone as the skin works to naturally heal itself.


Hydroquinone is a skin-bleaching agent that is commonly used to treat brown spots from sun damage. It suppresses the activity of melanocytes and reduces their frequency in the skin, which helps combat the overproduction of pigmentation in sun damage.


Vibradermabrasion uses fast-vibrating abrasive pads to scrub away the outer layers of skin. As this skin layer is removed, it helps even out the skin’s tone and coloration. More importantly, by removing dead skin cells and debris from the outer layer of skin, it allows from other topical treatments for brown spots to better seep in and work their magic.


Lytera can be used topically to treat brown spots. It’s a member of the SkinMedica family of skincare products, and it’s designed to work wonders on brown spots. It also works for all skin types, which is a challenge that many pigmentation-correcting products and procedures face!

What should I expect with the treatment?

To start, you and Dr. Brandish will develop an individualized treatment plan to determine what treatment may be most effective for your individual case.

Treatment expectations will vary heavily depending on which modality or combination is used. We encourage you to check out the above links to each potential treatment, where you’ll find a description of what to expect for each individual treatment.

Sun Damage / Brown Spots Summary

Brown spots can form from the sun’s UV rays that penetrate and cause melanocytes to overproduce melanin. This condition is similar to melasma, but easier to treat as melasma is usually due to hormones and other causes that may be more treatment-resistant. Because of this many effective treatments exist for sunspots. From lasers to chemical peels and many other things that we offer here at Brandish Clinic, you don’t have to live with sunspots getting in the way of your even skin tone. Treatment expectations will vary widely based on what is used, but with so many options available we’re confident we can help you restore your complexion!

How do I get started with Sun Damage / Brown Spots Treatment?

If you’re interested in hearing more or in scheduling an appointment, contact our office at

and we’ll take care of you. We offer free consultation appointments as well if you’d like to simply go over any problem areas and discuss treatment options for brown spots with Dr. Brandish.