What are dark spots on the skin and how to treat them?
Dark spots on the skin, also called hyperpigmentation, occur when certain areas of the skin produce more melanin than usual. Melanin gives eyes, skin and hair their color.
Dark spots on the skin are not a concern and do not need to be treated, although some people may want to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. Depending on the cause, some types of dark spots on the skin are also called age spots or sun spots.
In this article, well look at what causes dark spots on the skin and how to remove them.
Dark spots on the skin can range from light brown to dark brown. The color of dark spots may depend on a person's skin tone. The spots have the same texture as the skin and are not painful.
The dark spots also vary in size and can appear on any part of the body, but most commonly on areas that are frequently exposed to the sun.
Dark spots often occur in the following places:
- back of the hand
In people with darker skin, a spot that is a few shades darker than the skin generally disappears within 6 to 12 months. Deeper colorations may take years to fade. Deep color changes often appear blue or gray, but a spot can also be a much darker brown than a person's natural skin color.
How to remove dark spots
Dark spots on the skin do not need to be treated, but some people want to remove the spots for cosmetic reasons.
A dermatologist may offer creams or procedures to lighten or, in some cases, remove dark spots. The procedures are more expensive than creams and are more likely to have side effects, but they usually work faster.
The best treatment option depends on the cause, the size of the dark spot and the area of the body.
A dermatologist may recommend one of the following treatments for dark spots on the skin:
There are several types of lasers available. The most common laser for treating dark spots on the skin uses a laser with intense pulsed light. The light targets melanin and breaks up the dark spots.
In microdermabrasion, a dermatologist uses a special device with an abrasive surface to remove the outer layer of the skin. This treatment promotes the growth of new collagen, which can help reduce spots.
A chemical peel involves applying a solution to the skin that exfoliates the skins surface to promote new skin growth. This can gradually fade dark spots on the skin.
Cryotherapy is a procedure in which liquid nitrogen is applied to dark spots to freeze them, injuring the skin cells. The skin often heals lighter afterwards.
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