Brown Spots

What are brown spots?

Brown spots are also known as “age spots” or “liver spots”.  Brown spots are common and are more likely to appear in older individuals or those who have high exposure to the sun or tanning beds.  Age spots affect people of all skin types but are more common in those with lighter skin tones.  Unlike a freckle, they don’t fade away with less sun exposure and can get up to half an inch in size.  

When should I see a doctor about my brown spot?

They typically don’t require a doctor visit but if they change in appearance or size these can be a sign of something more serious.  These characteristics can be a sign of melanoma or skin cancer.

Characteristics to watch out for include:

  • It is black, not brown
  • Size continues to grow
  • Irregular border
  • Bleeds

How do you get rid of brown spots?

Dermatologists have a number of treatments for “liver spots”.  

  • Laser Treatment: There are different types of laser treatments available, however, the most common is intense pulse light (IPL).  The light targets the melanin and breaks up the dark spots on the skin.
  • Chemical Peels: Chemical peels are applied to the skin, removing the old skin leading to new skin growth.
  • Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy applies the liquid nitrogen to the brown spots, freezing them.  This process damages the skin and the healing process results in clearer skin.

Your dermatologist will determine the severity of your brown spots and if it is a sign of melanoma.  During your consultation, your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you.