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Brown Skin Discoloration on the Leg

Brown Skin Discoloration on the Leg Brown Skin Discoloration on the Leg

Overview

Hyperpigmentation is a common cause of brown skin discoloration on the legs. In hyperpigmentation, overproduction of pigment results in skin color changes. A common form of hyperpigmentation is liver spots. These spots aren't usually harmful; however, if they are a cosmetic concern, treatment is available. Topical creams and in-office procedures can reduce the appearance of these spots.

Causes

Exposure to ultraviolet rays is a common cause of brown skin discoloration on the legs. The sun's rays cause the skin to produce higher levels of melanin. This is what creates the dark brown spots. Liver spots occur after years of sun exposure in high concentration, according to MayoClinic.com.

Risk Factors

You are more likely to develop brown skin discoloration if you have light-colored skin, according to MayoClinic.com. A history of serious sunburn also boosts your risk for liver spots. Brown skin discoloration also runs in families. If your parents had age spots, you're at higher risk, too.

Treatments

Use bleaching creams, such as hydroquinone, to treat brown skin discoloration on the skin. Retinoid creams are another option for fading spots. Both of these topical treatments are available through your dermatologist.
In-office procedures, such as laser therapy or dermabrasion, focus on damaging outer layers of skin to promote new skin growth. Chemical peels and skin freezing procedures also minimize the appearance of brown skin discoloration. Talk with your doctor to determine if these treatments are right for you.

Prevention

Prevent the development of future brown spots by using a sunscreen with a sun protection factpr of at least 30. Apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, recommends MayoClinic.com. This allows the sunscreen to adequately absorb into the skin. Avoid sun exposure during the most damaging hours of the day, which is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and tightly woven fabrics.

Warnings

Make an appointment with your doctor to examine brown spots on the legs. Although these pigment changes are usually age spots, it's a good idea to get an exam. Your doctor can rule out other conditions, such as skin cancer. Also, most insurance companies don't cover age spot treatments. Request a cost quote to determine treatment affordability.

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