Common Causes for Dark Spots on Skin

Dark spots on skin can range in color from light brown to black, or even red. Dark spots on skin are caused due to various reasons, with the most common being excessive sun exposure. These dark spots are also referred to as age spots, hyperpigmentation, and liver spots. Dark spots on skin can appear anywhere on the body, even the scalp. In years past it was believed that these spots were formed due to liver problems, hence the name liver spots, however, they don’t have any connection with the liver. These spots are not usually due to any type of underlying medical condition and are relatively harmless. When individuals seek treatment, it’s merely for cosmetic reasons.

Dark Spots on Skin

Dark Spots on Skin

The major causes for dark spots on skin include trauma or injury to the skin, medications, changes in hormone levels, and UV exposure.  Any person can develop an age spot, but you’ll be more likely to develop this condition if you have very dark or light skin, or if you frequently tan.

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Located in the upper layer of skin is the pigment called melanin, which is what gives the skin its color. When you’re exposed to UV rays, the light will accelerate melanin production in the skin and this melanin will protect the deeper layers of skin from the effects of the UV rays. When your skin is exposed to the sun for a long period of time the melanin will clump in certain areas of the skin, which results in dark spots. Aside from excessive sun exposure, genetic make-up and aging can also play a part in deciding your susceptibility to dark spots.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the term used to describe discolored areas of skin that results from an inflammatory wound. The discolored areas on the skin are flat and can range from pink, red, purple or black in color, depending on a person’s skin tone and the depth of the discoloration. This type of discoloration will develop when a pimple, rash, wound or other stimuli triggers the skin to produce too much melanin. This area of discoloration will remain even after the acne lesion or wounded area has healed. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be commonly found among people who suffer from severe forms of acne and it can occur in every skin type and effects both men and women. Because dark spots are not truly scars, they can be treated more effectively.

Commonly, the first type of treatment used for PIH are chemical peels. With the use of chemical peels, it can take two to three months for the redness to completely clear. Chemical peels will remove the top layer of skin, so you’ll experience skin peeling, irritation and inflammation for five to seven days after.