What Are Brown Spots?
Brown spots on the skin are pigment, or colour, produced by melanin. If too much melanin is produced in one area of the skin, a brown spot or hyperpigmentation develops. Brown spots come in many different forms, such as:
- Freckles – Small flat circular marks, usually uniform in colour and appearing in multiples. Possibly genetic or have developed randomly due to sun exposure; more common on people with fair complexions. Some freckles change with the seasons, i.e. fade in winter.
- ‘Liver’ or Age Spots – Larger and darker flat brown spots on face and hands, also known as solar lentigo (or lentigines). In the past these would appear most often around middle age, but now lentigines appear in younger people due to overexposure to the sun.
- Moles – Usually small dark brown spots, but come in a range of colours, sizes and types. Moles, or nevi, occur when pigmented cells grow in clusters. They tend to appear with sun exposure and pregnancy; and are also dependant on your genetics and skin type.
- Melasma – Brown or tan patches of hyperpigmentation found on the face, mainly in women of childbearing age. Possibly related to sun exposure, certain medications, genetics and/or hormonal changes. If occurring during pregnancy, melasma is also known as “the mask of pregnancy”.
- Actinic Keratosis – Scaly, thickened and/or warty lesion on the skin, either brown or reddish in colour. Appearing on sun damaged skin, it can be one of the early signs of skin cancer.
The best way to distinguish the type of brown spot on your skin is through a visit to your doctor or dermatologist. Sometimes what looks to be a harmless age spot or freckle could be early malignant melanoma, or skin cancer. If the spot has appeared or changed recently, you should see a skin specialist for advice.
Brown Spot Removal Treatments
Treatment depends on the type of brown spot. Generally speaking, if the pigment is near the surface of the skin (epidermal) it is usually easier to remove than pigment that is deeper in the skin.
Melasma treatment and ‘getting rid of freckles’ are common requests in our Vancouver clinic. The recommended approach will depend on the extent of the hyperpigmentation and your skin type.
Brown spot treatments include:
Contact us for a consultation to determine the best treatment plan for your brown spot removal in Vancouver.
- Brown spot assessment by a dermatologist
- Permanent or temporary removal of spots that may be bothering you