04 Sep What’s that Brown Spot?
If you have a brown spot on the skin that wasn’t there before, it can be alarming. Spectrum Dermatology first diagnoses precisely what that discolored patch is before devising a treatment plan. The vast majority of discolorations are not harmful, but a correct diagnosis is critical for understanding and designing a treatment.
Also called hyperpigmentation, the most common cause of a brown spot is an injury. Brown spots can occur from sun damage or the lingering effects of acne. Skin creates brown melanin pigment as a protective reaction. Even if you don’t get a sunburn from an afternoon in the sun, you might sustain sun damage, and brown spots can arise from it. There are various common types of brown spots:
- Age spots. Also known as liver spots or sun spots, people simply get more brown spots as they age. They’ve spent more time in the sun and sustained more injuries. They are sometimes called liver spots because long ago it was thought they were a sign of liver disease (they are not).
- Acne. It is very common to have hyperpigmentation even months after an acne breakout. Consider this one more reason not to pick a pimple.
- Melasma or chloasma. This type of hormonal pigmentation can cause dark spots. It is most common in women who are pregnant or start hormonal contraception. Most of these spots are found on the cheeks, forehead, and top lip. It has been called “the mask of pregnancy.”
- Seborrheic keratosis. These spots might appear brown, tan, or black and can happen anywhere on the body. They are completely harmless and are most often found in older people (but anyone can get them). They can be raised and have a scaly or waxy appearance. Many people choose to have them removed for cosmetic purposes, and Eskata is one great option.