Brown Spots Aren’t Something You Have to Live With

No matter what your skin tone is or how old you are, you may be seeing patches of darker, pigmented skin show up on your face, your arms or legs, or other parts of your body.

These patches, commonly called brown spots, may be caused by aging, medication, sunlight or a combination of other lifestyle or genetic factors.

The most common conditions involving hyperpigmentation include:

  • Age spots
  • Melasma
  • Birthmarks

What Can Be Done to Treat Age and Sun Spots?

Almost all of us, if we live long enough, will start to see small pigmented spots appear on our scalps, face, neck and hands. These spots go by a number of names – age spots, sun spots, and our favorite, wisdom spots, as well as liver spots and solar lentigos. You should know that:

  • Age and sun spots do not require medical treatment.
  • However, many people do treat age and sun spots cosmetically. Some people use topical solutions to lighten the spots’ appearance or have the spots removed by the Midwest Dermatology team.

How Can I Tell the Difference Between a Brown Spot & Skin Cancer?

The truth is, it’s hard to distinguish between a completely harmless sun spot that appears in areas where the skin is regularly exposed to the sun and a pre-cancerous, or even cancerous, spot on the skin.

That’s why Midwest Dermatology recommends that you (and everyone) see a dermatologist annually for a full-body skin screening to check out all the new growths on your skin.

Will I Get Melasma Facial Discoloration If I Get Pregnant?

Melasma, a skin disease that causes dark patches of skin to appear on the face, affects significantly more women than men. In fact, it is so common during pregnancy that it’s sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy.”

Melasma facial discoloration can be treated by Midwest Dermatology with:

  • Topical solutions like lotions, creams and gels that are applied on the skin’s surface and lighten the discoloration.
  • Home regimen recommendations, including guidance on avoiding skin irritants and clothing to protect the affected area.
  • Melasma, which appears to be triggered by hormones associated with pregnancy or birth control pills, may go away on its own when a woman gives birth or stops taking a contraceptive medication.

What Can I Do to Get Rid of Brown Spot Birthmarks?

One of the most common brown spots is known as a Café au Lait spot – a fancy name for a brown pigmented birthmark. These Café au Lait spots are characterized by:

  • Oftentimes smooth on the surface.
  • Oftentimes have an oval shape.
  • Oftentimes have irregular borders, or edges.
  • Typically, have a coffee-like color
  • Small as a half centimeter
  • Lifetime presence – they may appear in infancy, shortly after birth, or later in life.

Fortunately, Brown Birthmarks Can Be Cleared

If, after consulting with your dermatologist, you do choose to cosmetically treat brown birthmark spots to make them less noticeable, you can opt for:

  • Laser treatment that targets the pigment in the spots and breaks up the darker pigment without hurting the overlying skin on the surface.
  • Makeup to hide the light brown spots.

Typically, Café au Lait birthmarks are harmless and do not require medical treatment. But people with six or more Café au Lait birthmarks should schedule an appointment with Midwest Dermatology because they may be at a higher risk for developing a serious disease called neurofibromatosis.

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