Dark spots on skin occur for many reasons. From age spots to vitiligo, dark spots on skin can be embarrassing and difficult to treat. Some of the most common types include moles, birthmarks, age spots, melasma, and hypopigmentation. There are a number of treatment options today, however the effectiveness of each treatment will depend on how old the dark spots on skin are, the amount of area they cover and the underlying medical condition that caused them.
Different Types of Dark Spots on Skin
Birthmarks come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from shades that range from red to brown. The cause of birthmarks is unknown, but some physicians believe that they are caused by blood vessel deformities that occur during the embryo’s first month. Some types of birthmarks will disappear during childhood, while others will endure. Treatment for birthmarks can range from lasers, fade creams and other types of topical treatments.
Moles are brown or black in color and can be raised or flat. Some moles will disappear on their own or grow with age. Many moles are formed when the natural pigment of the skin coagulates. Typically, moles are lanced off or removed with lasers or cryotherapy.
Age spots will usually appear on the hands, chest or face and tend to be significantly larger than freckles, occurring more frequently in men or women who spend an extensive amount of time in the sun. These spots occur when damage caused by UV rays throws off the pattern of pigment producing melanocytes. Laser procedures, chemical peels and bleaching creams can help to minimize the appearance of age spots.
Melasma appears as brown stains on the chest or face and is more commonly found in women during the final trimester of pregnancy. This type of skin condition can also occur in women who are taking birth control pills. A significant change in a woman’s hormone levels can increase the production of melanin, which can cause dark spots on skin. Typically, this condition will resolve itself after childbirth or once a woman changes medications.
Serious Conditions that Require Medical Attention
Vitiligo involves the complete loss of skin pigment and affects only one percent of the population. People are at higher risk for this condition if they suffer from thyroid disorders, decreased adrenal gland function or pernicious anemia. Treatment for this condition will involve medication that’s designed to remove any remaining pigmentation, allowing the patient to experience a uniform lighter skin or UV light therapy.
Thread veins are dilated veins that appear as find red lines on the legs or cheeks. This condition is more common in women and can be caused by skin type hormones, heredity, or injury. Thread veins can also appear as blotches on the skin and are typically treated with lasers.
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