What Are These Brown Spots, Red Spots, & White Spots?
What are these and why are they popping up on your skin? As we get older (and wiser), it is almost inevitable that different color skin growths will appear on your skin. Here is a review of some of the most common things you may see.
These are by far the most common benign lesions that dermatologists see on the skin of adults. Also referred to as “age spots”, “barnacles” or “wisdom spots” these growths appear as though someone has literally pasted them onto the skin. They are usually tan, yellow-hued, or brown, but can be almost any color in between. Some people will have one, while others (with a genetic tendency) may have hundreds! These benign growths have no cancerous potential and are not dangerous, but they can be unsightly, and occasionally itchy. Sometimes they can be flat and dark brown and can be difficult to distinguish from an abnormal mole. If you have any question whatsoever about a new dark spot on your skin, you should be examined by a dermatologist.
Sadly, there is no great cream or medication to use at home to improve seborrheic keratoses. Your dermatologist can treat them cosmetically with liquid nitrogen; however, this procedure is not covered by your insurance. Freezing does carry the risk of leaving a light mark behind. A newer cosmetic treatment available in our office is a liquid applied to the seborrheic keratoses called Eskata. This potent solution derived from hydrogen peroxide dissolves the lesions, which heal somewhat faster than with liquid nitrogen and may be less likely to leave a white spot behind. Eskata treatment is more expensive than liquid nitrogen, and only a limited number of lesions can be treated at one time.
Solar lentigines (also known as “freckles” or “sun damage spots”) are usually found on the chest, upper back, and face. What do all of those locations have in common? They are hot spots for excessive sun exposure and sunburn. Over time, the body responds to ultraviolet light by increasing local proliferation of melanocytes (the color cells in your skin). These spots are more common in fair skin individuals but can be seen in all skin types. These spots should be all one color with very sharp borders, but can often be difficult to distinguish from an abnormal mole or even melanoma. If your solar lentigo is more than one color, raised in any area, if you notice abnormal borders, or if you have any concern that one of your spots is abnormal, you should schedule an appointment to see your dermatologist. Excellent treatment options for solar lentigines are available. In our office we love Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) photorejuvenation the Fraxel® Dual Laser and Clear and Brilliant laser skin resurfacing.