Brown Spots

Brown spots may emerge on the skin for a variety of reasons. When talking about brown spots, most people are referring to the age spots that commonly emerge over time, which can also be called “liver spots” or “sunspots” if they result from excess sun exposure. However, a brown spot or a patch of darkened skin can also be due to other medical conditions such as melasma or a birthmark, or hyperpigmentation after inflammation in the skin. Some patients consider brown spots to be a distraction from their overall appearance. An experienced, board-certified dermatologist can determine the cause of your brown spot and the best treatment options so you can achieve a more even skin tone and brighter complexion if desired.

Table of Contents

What Causes Brown Spots?

Brown spots can have several causes, ranging from sun-related pigmentation to certain rashes to benign skin growths. The most common causes for brown spots include:

  • Excess sun exposure
  • Genetic predisposition

What Types of Brown Spots Are There?

Some common examples of brown spots include:

Who Gets Brown Spots?

It is possible for just about anyone to get brown spots regardless of skin type or skin color. Depending on your particular genetic background, you may be more susceptible to develop brown spots as you grow older. You may also be more likely to develop brown spots if you spend a significant amount of time outdoors or in the sun.

How Can I Prevent Brown Spots?

Because sun damage is a primary cause for brown spots, sun avoidance and diligent use of broad-spectrum sunscreen is an important way to prevent them. However, some types of brown spots, like birthmarks or moles, are difficult or impossible to avoid. Other types of brown spots may be left behind by prior inflammation in the skin such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne.

Why Treat Brown Spots?

It is always advisable to have any brown spot of concern evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist to rule out any danger to your overall health. Many brown spots are benign and only require treatment if desired. Some patients consider brown spots to be a distraction from their overall appearance. Elimination of brown spots can lead to a more even skin tone and brighter complexion.

How Can I Treat Brown Spots?

Several treatment options are available to lighten or remove brown spots. The best treatment option for you depends on factors like the cause of your brown spot, the size and location of the discoloration, your budget, and other considerations. At Arlington Dermatology, your dermatologist will recommend a customized treatment plan that will address your specific needs in a safe and effective manner.

Some common treatment options for brown spots include: 

  • Laser treatments
  • IPL
  • Chemical peels
  • Lightening topical agents (ex. Hydroquinone)
  • Cryotherapy

Schedule an Appointment 

If you are starting to notice brown spots that concern you, we are here at Arlington Dermatology to help you diagnose their cause and offer treatment. Our board-certified dermatologists will work with you to come up with a customized treatment plan that suits your goals and needs. 

To schedule your appointment at Arlington Dermatology, please call our office or request an appointment online.