Brown spots—also referred to as freckles, age spots, lentigos, liver spots, warts and keratoses—go by many names and can appear anywhere on your skin. These blemishes are more common in older patients, but they can occur in younger people as well. While they may sometimes resemble skin cancer in certain patients, this cosmetic type of brown spot is not dangerous and does not require treatment.
Although they don’t pose a threat to your health, many patients are not happy with these spots and often wish they would disappear. They often express that the brown spots distract from their appearance and contribute to a more aged appearance. Fortunately, these spots can almost always be improved, if not completely diminished. Our team offers multiple treatment options to provide a more even skin tone.
What Causes Brown Spots?
Brown spots are caused by the body producing excess melanin, which is what gives skin its pigment. While it may not always be obvious why these spots developed, common factors that can lead to areas of abnormal pigmentation include the natural aging process, excess sun exposure, other forms of UV exposure (e.g., tanning beds), and inflammation from damage to the skin. These potential causes tend to increase the production of melanin, creating the often unwanted brown spots you may see.
Can Brown Spots Be Prevented?
Brown spots are very common as people get older, but there are certain precautions you can take to reduce the degree of spotting you develop over time. Since a major factor that can lead to brown spots is sun exposure, wearing sun protection and sunscreen when outside can significantly help prevent brown spots.
How Are Brown Spots Removed?
Nowadays, there are a number of treatments to address brown spots and discoloration in the skin. Brown marks can fade if you use broad-spectrum sunscreens and sun protection with a high SPF. Fading creams can also be used to help neutralize these spots. These creams contain many topical agents such as hydroquinone, arbutin, kojic acid, retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids, and azelaic acid. If this doesn’t help, there are other ways to get rid of your brown spots.
Chemical peels are a technique that uses a chemical solution to smooth out and improve the tone and texture of the skin. Many peel solutions incorporate lightening agents that can fade and even “peel off” dark spots.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is another treatment option that can reduce the appearance of brown spots. This advanced solution sends pulses of broad-spectrum light energy to the target area, which strategically damages the spot. As the treated area heals, your body produces new collagen, creating a more even-looking skin tone.
These treatments—along with others like cryotherapy, microdermabrasion, and lasers—go deeper within the skin in order to target the hyperpigmentation, or the brown color you see at the surface of the skin. With a little time and patience, your brown spots can be cleared away, leaving your skin clear and unblemished!
Do you have brown or age spots on your skin that you would like to remove? Contact Sanova Dermatology to schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists to learn the best treatment for your skin concerns.