Brown Spots and Lesions


The Board Certified Dermatologists at Spectrum Dermatology take great pride in care in diagnosing a variety of skin conditions and providing a treatment plan to each patient. One of the most common conditions seen at Spectrum Dermatology is for “brown spots.” However, many patients don’t realize that this is a general term used to describe many conditions which may actually be age spots, actinic keratoses, seborrheic keratoses, hyperpigmentation, skin growths, moles, or another lesion. Please call to make an appointment today if you have an unidentified “brown spot” and would like more information on diagnosis and treatment – (480) 948-8400.

Brown Spots / Pigmentation / Seborrheic Keratoses

Age spots caused by time and genetics

Time leaves its mark. As people age, unsightly blemishes can appear on the face, chest and the back of the arms and hands. There are a variety of terms used to describe these spots which include freckles, brown spots, age spots, liver spots, and most correctly, seborrheic keratosis or SKs. Regardless of which term you use, you are likely talking about a mark on the epidermis (top surface layer) that has a different texture or color than the normal skin surface. One may appear by itself (a keratosis), or as a few clustered together (many keratoses),but generally “keratoses” is preferred as you’ll seldom see just one keratosis. Many people have a hereditary predisposition to them. While brown age spots may develop at an early age, even in childhood, they are more common in older people, especially those who have spent too much time in the sun.

Seborrheic Keratoses are generally harmless benign lesions, hyperpigmentation, or age spots. As non-cancerous growths, the spots can be flat, raised, flaky, crusty, swollen and have a darker color than the normal skin tone. SKs can present in a variety of ways and be velvety, shiny, or have a wart-like texture and grow thicker relative to the skin around the area. They may also get bigger and change in color over time. Moles tend to be smoother in texture than SKs and should be diagnosed by a dermatologist to differentiate it from a mole, melanoma, or other skin growth or lesion.

Treatment for Brown Spots

Treatment of brown spots involves a multifactorial approach starting with sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and then progresses to newly FDA-approved Eskata topical treatment, prescription bleaching creams, chemical peels and possible laser treatments. Results last longer if strict photoprotection is practiced post-treatment.

Eskata Topical Treatment (New)

There is an exciting new treatment for age spots that are seborrheic keratoses called Eskata – the first and only FDA approved topical treatment for raised SKs. The treatment is performed in office through a soft-tip pen-like applicator during your appointment. See before/after photos* of Eskata treatment below.


The most simple treatment to protect the skin from further damage and worsening of the spots is the use of sunscreen. Sunscreen is also essential after other treatment methods so the hyperpigmentation spots will not recur.

Bleaching Creams / Tretinoin and Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

These are topical applications prescribed by the physician to fade small spots. Treatment takes typically anywhere from two months to a year or longer.


The dermatologic surgeon freezes the skin tissue with liquid nitrogen to remove age spots and skin growths.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are just like they sound – a chemical solution is applied to peel away the blemished skin. The face and hands usually heal in one to two weeks.

Laser Surgery

New techniques with various lasers are used to remove the spots including Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and a Ruby Laser (coming soon!). A beam of laser light is directed at the age spots to improve the damaged skin selectively.


Microdermabrasion, or just dermabrasion, is a process whereby the skin is sanded lightly with a special instrument to remove the spot. Upon healing, which normally takes a week or so, the age spot is gone.

Skin Care Products

Skin Care products can help minimize the appearance of the lesion or growth and prevent future damage to the skin from prolonged sun exposure.

Eskata Topical Treatment For Seborrheic Keratoses Before/After Photos*

Seborrheic Keratoses | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale, AZ

Although nothing can be done about the role heredity plays, excessive exposure to the sun should be avoided – a precaution that will diminish the threat of skin cancer as well as protect your skin from sun damage.

“The staff and Dr. Kim were very accommodating and I was well pleased with the medical attention I received. I would highly recommend them to anyone.”

– Curt, Actual Patient*

Additional Types of Growths and Lesions

Actinic Keratoses

Age spots are not cancerous, nor do they lead to cancer. However, on skin exposed to the sun, they may be accompanied by pre-cancerous scaly, red elevations of the skin’s surface called actinic keratoses which are “pre-cancerous” or a “pre-cancerous lesion.” In fact, actinic keratoses develop slowly and reach a size of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. Like other age spots, they may change color and size over time. These growths on the face should be examined and diagnosed by a dermatologist. Treatment options for actinic keratoses include topical medications, cryosurgery, chemical peels, laser surgery and more.

Skin Tags

Skin tags are growths that extend beyond the skin and commonly found on the neck, armpits, groin, and eyelids. These lesions are benign, and no treatment is medically necessary, but many patients will choose to have our providers cosmetically remove them.


A wart is a skin condition that is the result of a viral infection from the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Also referred to as lesions, warts are the same color as the skin and have small extensions on the surface when you look at them closely. Warts are contagious and should be treated or removed altogether.


Benign lesions (such as moles, seborrheic keratoses, or skin tags) are easily removed and most commonly benign. Due to their growth and change in color, they can be of concern to the patient and the primary reason for a visit to a board certified dermatologist. A proper evaluation by a provider a Spectrum Dermatology will help identify the type of lesion and develop a treatment plan for the specific diagnosis.


Moles are also called nevi and are brown spots or bumps that can have hair growing within them. They may be present at birth or develop as people age. Moles usually remain the same size, and if you see any changes in color or shape, you should have them looked at by a board certified dermatologist. While generally not medically necessary to treat, you can have them removed if you’re concerned about the size, shape, or appearance.

Seborrheic Keratoses | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale, AZ

Contact Spectrum Dermatology – Book Your Appointment Online

Spectrum Dermatology provides expertise, knowledge and passion to medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Our experience and reputation make Spectrum Dermatology one of the most sought-after dermatologist in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. For more information or to set up an appointment please contact us at (480) 948-8400.