Causes, Prevention and Treatment of Brown Spots on Skin

brown spots on skin

Hyperpigmentation or what is generally known as brown spots on skin take place when particular places of the skin produce more amount of melanin than the other parts. Melanin is the element that provided color to skin, eyes, and hair.

Brown spots on the skin are not something to be extremely alarmed of and are not mandatory to remove. However, people choose to remove these spots for cosmetic care and appeal. This article discusses everything related to the brown spots on skin. From its symptoms to diagnosis and remedies, everything is here in this article.

Symptoms of brown spots on skin

The color of the brown spots suddenly appearing on skin can range from dark to light brown. The color o these spots might also depend on the skin on of the person getting affected. These spots share the same texture as the skin and are not painful for the person getting them. They also differ in size and have chances of coming up on any portion of the body. However, brown spots of skin are mostly seen on the parts that remain open to sun rays. The most common areas of the body that are affected by brown spots are face, shoulders, back of the hands and back.

People who have a darker skin tone can notice that their brown spot that darker than their skin tone might vanish within a time period of six to twelve months. However, when the brown spot has deeper coloration, it might take a longer time to fade. The changes in the deep color of the spot might also look gray or blue. However, a spot can be of a much darker shade of brown than it looks like on the natural skin of a person.

Causes behind brown spots

There are various causes behind raised brown spots on skin. Some of these reasons are discussed below:

Damage from the sun:

Getting overexposed to the rays of the sun can cause dark spots. These spots are also known as sunspots or liver spots or solar lentigines. The parts of the body that get most exposed to the sun are most likely to get the sunspots.

 Changes in hormonal balance:

There is a skin condition termed as melasma that causes skin discoloration in small portions. This condition is generally seen more in women and especially in the time of pregnancy. Studies show that hormones are behind the occurring of melasma.

Healing of wounds:

Dark spots can persist after you have healed from a cut or insect bite or burns. However, these spots generally fade away with time.

Side effects of medication:

There are some medicines that lead to brown spots on skin. The most common medicines that cause this type of skin pigmentation are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs, and tetracycline.


Some skincare products or cosmetics might not suit particular skin types and cause irritation on the skin. This often leads to dark spots.


If you suffer from a bout of inflammation then your skin can develop dark spots after that. Inflammation occurs for different reasons like psoriasis, eczema, acne, and injury on the skin.


Diabetes might be a working force behind the skin to get darker in some areas.

When should you see a doctor?

Brown spots on skin do not have any harmful effects on the affected person. However, in some cases, it gets difficult to differentiate between a harmless dark spot on the skin and some harmful skin conditions. For example, the apparently harmless brown patch on your skin can be melanoma that is a kind of skin cancer. This is why you should consult a doctor when you are unable to determine if you have only a dark spot or something serious than that.

You should consult the doctor if you see these symptoms:

  • The spot appears suddenly.
  • The spot tingles as well as itches,
  • It also bleeds and goes through changes in terms of color and size.

If these symptoms continue and your tiny black dots on skin do not get any better then you should immediately consult a skin specialist.

Diagnosis of the brown spots on skin

A dermatologist or skin specialist doctor can easily work out the causing factor of the dark spots on selected areas of your skin by examining the spots and also taking down your medical history. You might undergo a physical exam where the Wood lam skin exam would be performed on you. In this kind of a test, the spots are viewed through a special kind of device that emits black colored light. In some cases, doctors may need to perform elaborate tests to determine if the spot is a harmless brown spot or actually skin cancer.

Removing dark spots from the skin

It is not mandatory to remove dark spots as they do not have any harmful side effects on the individual. However, many people decide to get rid of them because of cosmetic purposes. A skin specialist generally offers various creams or other products to lighten the brown spots on skin and in some cases to get rid of them. Often, there are other procedures to remove these spots and they happen to be more expensive than using only creams. Procedures might also have some side effects on the individual but they work in a faster manner. The best treatment varies from patient to patient and is decided upon the size, color of the spot and the area it has appeared on.

The kinds of treatments that are performed for curing the dark spots are mentioned below.


During this process, a skin specialist uses a special kind of a device that contains a surface that is abrasive and thus removes the outside layer of the skin. This treatment leads to the growth of new collagen and it might help in reducing the spots.

Laser treatment:

Laser treatment consists of various kinds of lasers. The most common laser that is used to treat brown spots on skin is the intense pulse light laser. This light targets the melanin and then breaks up the brown spots

Chemical peels:

Chemical peel refers to a process that consists of applying a special kind of solution on the skin that helps in exfoliating the surface. This leads to the growth of new skin. It can help in gradually fading the brown spots.

Skin lightening creams:

Prescribed skin lightening creams work as bleaches on the skin. It generally works in a consistent manner and takes a few months to lighten the dark spot. Hydroquinone happens to be the active ingredient in these creams and that prevents the skin from producing more melanin. The prescribed products and creams generally have strength of three to four percent.


This is a process that consists of applying nitrogen that is liquid on the dark spots of the skin. It leads to the freezing of those patches and that injures the cells of the skin. The skin often gets lighter after this treatment.

Home remedies for removing brown skin spots

Besides consulting dermatological solutions many people tend to choose home-made remedies to get rid of the brown spots on skin. Some of these remedies are mentioned below.

Creams found over-the-counter:

The creams that are found over-the-counter are not generally as strong as the prescribed medicines but they might work on the dark patches on the skin. These types of creams generally contain materials like alpha or retinol or hydroxy acid that might help in exfoliating the skin and thus make new skin grow. However, make sure to buy a dermatologist-recommended cream as other products might be harmful.


Cosmetics generally do not lighten up the dark spots but they help in hiding them. One might consider using a concealer that has a cream base to decrease the amount of visible brown spots on skin.

Home remedies that should not be used

When you are opting for home remedies make sure to do ample research. There is information available on the internet that is not true. You will find out about home remedies that are said to have no side effects but end up having various harmful after effects. Some home remedies also do not even work through various pages claim their enhanced method of working. For example, apple cider vinegar and lemon do not work through there is a common myth that they can treat brown spots on skin.

In other cases, when you are going for an untested method it might end up aggravating your skin. Abrasive scrubs or lemon juice can be cited as examples as they are not recommended by various dermatologists and can have rather an adverse effect on the dark spots of the skin.

There are also various skin lightening products that cause more harm than any good. Many products contain elements that are rough for the skin and can cause the overall health of the skin to worsen. If you apply such products on your dark spots then you might get rashes or pimples or fragile skin over a period of time.

Risk factors associated with dark spots

Anyone can get dark spots. However, there are certain risk factors that fuel the chance of a person getting brown spots on skin. Some of the risk factors are mentioned below.

Exposure to the sun:

If your body remains exposed to the sun for longer periods of time then you might get dark spots on your skin. The bare areas of your body will mostly get affected as they will come to direct contact with the rays of the sun.

Skin conditions:

Different skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema can lead to darkening particular spots of the skin. If you have acne problem then also you might get brown spots on your skin after the acne has vanished.


Many women happen to have brown spots grown when they are pregnant.

Injury to the skin:

A skin injury can lead to a brown spot even after the injury has healed. Healed injuries and skin traumas generally leave an after mark and cause brown spots.

Liver disease:

Diseases of the liver are also another cause of dark spots on skin. The dark spots caused by liver diseases are also known as liver spots.


Different kinds of medications often end up causing dark spots on skin. However, this varies from person to person. The same medication might cause dark spot on someone’s skin and others might not be affected by it.

Preventing dark spots:

It is not always possible to prevent dark spots from developing on your skin. The dark spots that develop due to hormonal changes are really not preventable. However, there are a few things that can be done as an attempt to reduce the chances of getting dark spots.

Use sunscreen:

Using sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 will help you to remain safe from sun rays. If you go out every day then make sure to use this.

Treat skin conditions:

Whenever you get acne or pimple treat them immediately so that it does not leave an after mark. It is important to take of skin conditions properly to prevent getting dark spots from them.

Use added sum protection:

When you are going out on heavy sunny days make extra protection against the sun. You can wear full sleeved clothes and use hats and sunglasses to make sure that you do not let much of your body to get exposed to the sun. You should also try to avoid the sun when it is at its strongest.

Final thoughts

These are the basic information that you need to have about brown spots on skin. They are not harmful and you might use proven and safe home remedies to treat them. However, if the spots get consistent and cause you discomfort then make sure to visit a skin specialist. You should also use products that suit your skin type and has been approved by dermatologists.

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