Brown Spots Appearing on Skin
Brown spots appearing the skin are more than likely age spots. Also referred to as liver spots or solar lentigines, these markings are a common sign of aging. They typically appear on areas of the skin often exposed to the sun, such as the face, forearms, shoulders and back of hands. Although they may not look attractive, age spots aren't a cause for alarm, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Brown spots result from the production of melanin, which is responsible for the color of skin and hair. Exposing the skin to the ultraviolet light from the sun stimulates the production of this compound. Regular exposure produces a darkening of the skin, otherwise known as a tan. However, some of this melanin can begin to clump together, notes the Mayo Clinic. As skin is continually to exposed to the sun, these clumps begin to accumulate more and more melanin until they eventually form a brown spot on the skin.
Although sun exposure is the main culprit behind liver spots, it isn't the only factor that plays a role in their development. Age itself can contribute to these brown blemishes. The Mayo Clinic asserts that as the body ages, it creates additional melanin, which can clump together to form the brown spots. It's also likely that some people are simply more susceptible to their development than others, so genetics factor into the equation as well.
Besides the brown to black oval patches on the skin, it isn't uncommon to experience other symptoms with these age spots. The Cleveland Clinic states that many people develop dryness and wrinkling along the same areas of the skin. Skin may also appear rough or coarse. People who develop age spots are usually over the age of 40.
Although there's no medical need to treat age spots, there are products and procedures that can help to fade them. Many people find success by using hydroquinone, a skin bleaching cream, or tretinoin, a retinoid used in the treatment of acne. If these fail to provide results, laser therapy, dermabrasion or chemical peels can help to break down or fade the brown spots from the skin.
The most effective form of treatment is prevention. The easiest method of prevention is simply avoiding ultraviolet light altogether. Otherwise, exposure to the sun should be minimized and a sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 30 should be worn. Hats, long sleeves and pants also minimize sun exposure.
Spots that develop on areas not commonly exposed to the sun, grow rapidly, cause pain or are raised from the skin may be a sign of another condition and should be inspected by a dermatologist. .
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