18 Oct Where Did All of These Brown Spots Come From?
Hyperpigmentation is called a variety of names including brown spots, age spots, liver spots, and solar lentigines. Fortunately, Spectrum Dermatology has a variety of treatments for these often perfectly safe but aesthetically unpleasing spots. Darker areas appear on the skin in a variety of sizes, most often on the face, hands, shoulders, and limbs, as these are the areas which have sustained the most sun damage.
Understanding Damage to Your Skin
Most people get more and more brown spots as they age, and they can be particularly present in those 50+. The more time you spend in the sun especially unprotected or not wearing quality sunscreen properly, the more likely you are to get brown spots. Those with fairer skin are also at a higher risk of both sun damage and brown spots because they lack the appropriate amounts of natural melanin to protect their skin (of course, everyone should wear sunscreen because melanin alone does not protect you from skin cancer).
It can be very difficult for a non-professional to differentiate between cancerous or pre-cancerous growths and genuine age spots. Real age spots are harmless and can be removed with laser treatments, chemical peels, or other in-office treatments. Age spots are usually flat and can be brown, tan, or black. They usually range from the size of a freckle up to about ½ inch in diameter, and it’s common to see them “clustered” together in areas where sun damage has been especially prevalent.
Age spots are caused by the overactive pigment in the cells, and their growth can be sped up by UV light exposure. If you have red hair or a history of sunburns or excessive sun exposure, you’re at a high risk of both age spots and skin cancer.
How To Treat Your Spots
However, since it takes a dermatologist to tell if your brown spots are harmless or not, it’s important to see your doctor every year for an annual skin check. Potentially dangerous spots might have very dark pigmentation, change quickly in size, have a variety of color combinations within one spot, or have an irregular border. It’s always a good idea to monitor your own brown spots for warning signs, but nothing takes the place of an in-office skin check. Schedule your skin check today and your appointment for age spot treatments at Spectrum Dermatology.