Wrinkles in the face are the result of several factors. The most common cause of wrinkles is the repetitive action of a facial muscle causing a fold or indentation on the skin. A good analogy is to think about the repetitive folding of a piece of paper in the same area. If the same action is performed enough times, a permanent crease will be formed in the paper. With five convenient locations serving Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra, and St. Augustine, the Medical Spa at Garcia Facial Plastic Surgery, led by double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Phillip Garcia, offers both short-term and long-term wrinkle removal procedures. Brown spots are also located within the dermis but in a more superficial location so the methods used to get rid of them are not as aggressive as those used in wrinkle removal.
View a selection of real patient results in our Wrinkles and Brown Spots Before and After gallery.
What is a Wrinkle?
Wrinkles, skin creases or “expression lines” are some of the first physical signs of aging skin. They are caused by premature skin damage (due to tanning and sun exposure) and the natural aging process. The impact is a weakened underlying support structure of the skin, which results in the loss of elasticity and firmness.
What Causes Wrinkles?
We cannot stop or slow down the natural aging process as it involves elements beyond our control. As we grow older, the skin’s regeneration rate slows, resulting in more fragile elastin and a decrease in collagen production. The rate at which new skin cells grow and turnover also significantly slows down. Fat, muscle tone, and bone structure shrink in the facial region. Hormones also play an important role during this time.
External influences on the skin’s aging process are factors that are within our control. Extreme sun exposure and tanning are two of the key contributors to premature aging, in addition to other factors, such as environmental pollution and smoking. Such things as gravity, your sleeping position, and repetitive facial expressions are also known to play a role. Prolonged exposure to the sun leads to aesthetic and functional changes in the skin (also known as photoaging).
What are Brown
Brown spots, also known as liver spots or sun spots, are flat, colored areas on the skin that form as a result of repeated sun exposure. These spots can vary in color from brown to gray to black.
What Causes Brown Spots?
Brown spots develop as a result of excess melanin production. It is not known at which level of sun exposure these areas begin to develop nor exactly where they will develop, but in most cases, they are seen in the areas of the body left uncovered and most exposed to the sun over a period of time, such as the face, forehead, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, back and legs. These brown spots develop from exposure to both natural sunlight and ultraviolet light (used in tanning beds). The more time spent exposed to either form of UVA and UVB rays, the better the chance of developing spots.
What is the Difference between Brown Spots and Age Spots?
Once you know what causes brown spots, it is easy to tell the difference between brown spots and age spots.
Brown spots are a result of superficial hyperpigmentation. They exist on the epidermis, or the uppermost layers of your skin. If left untreated this over production of melanin saturates the epidermis and the overproducing melanocytes produce enough melanin and start filling the dermis. Therefore, if left untreated, the over-pigmentation will spread to the deeper part of the dermis.
Age spots are composed of melanin that exists in the deeper layers of the skin, making it more difficult for them to be removed.
In summary, the biggest difference between age spots and brown spots is at which level in the skin’s many layers the melanin pigments reside. The pigments that make up brown spots are confined to the skin’s outermost layer, the “epidermis” which makes for easy removal. The pigments which compose age spots can spread beyond the dermis layer and, in some cases, extend all the way down into the hypodermis, which is composed of fat and connective tissue.
Who Can Develop Brown Spots?
Anyone of any age is at risk for developing brown spots given enough UVA and UVB exposure. However, those individuals who fall into the following categories are at an increased risk of developing brown spots. These categories include:
- Individuals who are 40 years of age and older
- Individuals with fair skin complexion
- Individuals with a history of continual sun exposure
- Individuals with a history of frequent tanning bed use
Treatment for Wrinkles and Brown Spots
Because wrinkles and brown spots are localized to the dermis (skin), the ways that both are addressed are similar.
Wrinkles (fine lines) are located within the dermis. Short-acting procedures, such as dermal fillers and injectables, simply push or flatten the wrinkle from below. Long-lasting procedures, such as laser resurfacing, deep chemical peels and dermabrasion, remove the superficial part of the dermis thus reducing the depth of the wrinkle. A good analogy is to think of a wrinkle as a scratch on a table, and the way to get rid of it is to sand the area around the scratch and then to varnish the table.
Remember, the aforementioned procedures require a prescribed recovery period of at least one week and are performed in the operating room under twilight anesthesia.
Brown spots are also located within the dermis but in a more superficial location so the methods used to get rid of them are not as aggressive as those used in wrinkle removal. The Obagi™ system is used every day for a prescribed period of time and has no down time. Medium depth peels and intense pulsed light (IPL®) also get rid of brown spots, but they have an approximately one-week recovery.
Garcia Facial Plastic Surgery is the leading facial plastic surgery center on the First Coast. As a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, specializing solely in cosmetic facial procedures, Dr. Phillip Garcia provides his North Florida patients with exceptional skills and results that last. For more information on wrinkles and brown spots or to schedule a consultation at one of our five convenient locations in Jacksonville (Town Center), Avondale, Julington Creek, Fleming Island or Palm Coast, please contact us today.