Ask An Expert·2 min read

Is it possible to fade or remove age spots and spider veins?

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Dear Expert,

Is it possible to fade or remove age spots and spider veins?

Dear Anonymous,

Age spots (aka liver spots, sun spots) are small, darkened areas that develop in part from sun damage. That’s why they often show up in areas that have gotten too much sun. While you probably can’t erase all your age spots, you can take steps to fade them with topicals (creams or gels that you apply to the skin) or in-office procedures like lasers. Topicals like retinoids, hydroquinone, and tranexamic acid can help reduce the appearance of spots. But if you want more significant improvement, you’ll probably need to try in-office treatments. That's where lasers come into play – like picosecond or Q-switched lasers

When it comes to broken blood vessels in the face (often referred to as spider veins), there aren't really topical options, so lasers are the way to go. Your dermatologist will likely use a vascular laser that targets and destroys the broken blood vessels. For spider veins on the legs, it’s a different story. The gold standard treatment is called sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution that breaks down the affected vein.

While there are ways to remove or fade some spots and veins, keep in mind that these procedures can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and that insurance doesn't typically cover cosmetic procedures. Also, don’t expect these treatments to erase everything. Remember, it’s normal to show signs of aging — that’s what makes us human.

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