If you have started noticing brown spots on your body as you get older, you are not alone.
These brown pigmentation spots are called liver spots or age spots – small patches of darker pigment, usually in an area that has seen a bit of sun in its time, like the backs of your hands, shoulders and arms.
Most people with paler skin have these brown spots after a certain age and level of sun exposure. The older you are, the more of them you’ll have. Sometimes they can look like skin cancer, but can be quite benign, though it’s important to make sure by getting checked. Many people seek out brown spot treatments to remove the spots, though the most appropriate treatment for you will vary.
Brown spot treatments for the backs of hands, shoulders, arms
The backs of your hands can be one of the first places you see age spots appear, because your hands are so visible to you every day. You’d probably be amazed to see just how many brown spots exist on the back of your shoulders, that you never see except maybe in a photo.
Brown spots look like flat, oval, brown or tan areas. These brown spots can be the size of a freckle or bigger, up to 13mm (1/2 inch), and may appear as a single or bunch together.
Are these brown spots dangerous?
Age/liver spots are not dangerous, but brown spot treatments can help reduce their appearance. You do need to get any suspect spots checked to make sure there is no cancer lurking in your skin.
How to tell when to get a brown spot checked
- If the pigment is very dark
- The brown spot gets bigger, quickly
- The border is irregular
- It has multiple colours in it
- It is red, itchy, sore or bleeds
What causes brown spots?
Brown spots are caused by your pigment-producing cells, melanocytes, producing melanin. Melanin is dark pigment that UV light triggers, which is a protective effect, though sometimes it is unevenly spread.
What your dermatologist will do with your brown spots
When you contact your doctor to take a look at your spots, your dermatologist will be able to see if they are of concern or not. If one of your brown spots needs further testing, a biopsy may be taken and the sample tested.
Brown spot treatments at our Melbourne clinic
Treatments are available to lighten pigmented skin and in many cases completely erase the pigmented areas. You may be offered lightening creams (bleaching creams), laser or IPL treatments, or cryotherapy (freezing). Other options to remove the upper layers of skin include microdermabrasion or chemical peels.
Lasers and other wave-based treatments destroy the melanin-producing cells in that area without causing any skin damage to surrounding tissue, with the treatments causing fading over several months. You will need several sessions for best effect.
Freezing involves liquid nitrogen to destroy extra pigment. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion take off the top layers of skin, either with a manual action or with a laser. Chemical peels use acid to eat away the top layers of skin to reveal new skin underneath. This can remove blemishes.
We have effective brown spot treatments.