Understanding Where Dark Spots Come From and How to Treat Them

Dark and discolored spots on your skin, especially your face, can make you self-conscious and cause concern. Though there are many different causes for dark spots, the biggest culprit is the sun. Overexposure triggers melanin production, which causes a dark pigmentation in your skin. That’s why, even though they can, and do, develop anywhere on the body, these unsightly spots typically appear on areas of the body that receive the most sun exposure.

Although sun exposure is a major source of dark spots on your skin, there are other conditions that can trigger these skin spots. And depending on the cause of your dark spots, there are ways to treat them and get rid of them once and for all. James E. Needell, MD, at Gastonia Wellness & Long Term Care can help. But first, here’s some information about dark spots.
Causes of dark spots on the skin

Known as hyperpigmentation, skin spots can range in color from very pale tan to dark brown and black. They’re flat and generally round or oval. And usually they’re nothing more than an unsightly discoloration, but there are some spots that may be cancerous. That’s why it’s always in your best interest to have your skin checked out.

Because dark spots develop over time — depending on how often your skin has been unprotected from the sun’s UV rays — they are often referred to as “age spots” or “liver spots” (though they typically have no connection to the health of your liver) and also solar lentigines.

Besides exposure to natural sunlight, there are other reasons you may develop dark spots. Obviously, if the sun can cause a hyperpigmentation, so can exposure to the UV light used in tanning beds. Additionally, dark spots may result from skin conditions.

There are several different conditions and diseases of the skin that can cause hyperpigmentation. These spots aren’t the same as age spots from sun exposure. These include:

  • Chloasma or “pregnancy mask,” a form of melasma (hyperpigmentation) that can be caused by the surge of hormones in the second half of pregnancy and usually goes away after hormone levels return to normal
  • Acne inflammation, which can cause discoloration and spots on your skin
  • Poikiloderma of Civatte, a benign reddish-brown pigmentation of the neck, and erythromelanosis follicularis, a reddish-brown discoloration of the face and neck
  • Riehl’s melanosis, a contact dermatitis triggered by the sun that often leaves hyperpigmentation

Certain prescription medications can also cause dark spots, such as:

  • Estrogen
  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics
  • Medications to treat irregular heartbeat
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Phenothiazines, for treating emotional disorders
  • Sulfonamides

There are other conditions, which can be serious, that cause hyperpigmentation. That’s why, if you aren’t sure of the cause, you need to schedule an exam with us at Gastonia Wellness & Long Term Care. Dr. Needell focuses his special brand of compassionate and dedicated care on his patients in and around Gastonia, North Carolina. He and his team can help you banish your dark spots for good.
How to treat dark spots

There are some different types of treatments for banishing your dark spots, but by far the best is the Icon™ laser. This revolutionary treatment process uses laser technology to gently promote your body’s own ability to heal the skin and get rid of your hyperpigmentation. The result is clear skin that’s younger in appearance and, best of all, free of dark spots.

The Icon procedure for hyperpigmentation usually requires no more than a few sessions, depending on your degree of dark spots. There is no downtime, and no obvious telltale signs, such as bruising or severe swelling. At most, you may experience a slight sunburn feeling, which goes away in a few hours’ time.

If you’re bothered by dark spots on your skin, banish them. Dr. Needell and our support staff can help you achieve smooth, clear, spot-free skin. Contact us at Gastonia Wellness & Long Term Care today.

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