Facial Brown Spots

Spots of brown discoloration are often most noticeable on the face, but they are also commonly seen in sun exposed areas of the skin, such as the arms and legs. Brown spots can represent a number of different skin disorders. If a brown spot seems suspicious for a possible skin cancer, it is important to have it checked by your physician. Dermatologists like Dr. Matsuda and Dr. Sheu in Honolulu, HI can help you diagnosis and determine the best treatment options for your brown spots.

WHAT KIND OF BROWN SPOTS DO I HAVE?

The most common types of potentially distressing facial discoloration include:

  • Lentigos (sun spots, liver spots) – flat brown spots that may grow larger over time. They are usually due to sun damage.
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Lentigos before treatment

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Lentigos after treatment    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Seborrheic keratosis (age spot) – very common, benign, brown-colored growths that often have a rough or warty surface. They may present as skin tags or enlarging unsightly raised spots.

Seborrheic keratosis before treatment

Seborrheic keratosis after treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Melasma (chloasma, mask of pregnancy) – blotchy dark color. It is worsened by sunlight and can occur intermittently or last indefinitely.
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Melasma

 

  • Other causes :
    • Actinic keratoses – precancers
    • Melanoma – serious mole cancer that may look like a changing age spot
    • Pigmented basal cell carcinoma – dark, growing skin cancer that may look like a new mole
    • Pigmentation due to injury (post-inflammatory pigmentation), medication or, skin rashes

SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT MY BROWN SPOT(S)?

In most cases, your dermatologist will be able to diagnose the type of brown spot based on visual inspection. Sometimes they may use a special magnification light. If the spot is suspicious for skin cancer, the dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR NON-CANCEROUS FACIAL BROWN SPOTS?

Treatment of brown spots are determined by the type of brown spot.

Melasma has a number of treatment options including topical lightening preparations and different cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels or fractionated non-ablative lasers.

Lentigos can be removed with intense pulse light (IPL, photofacial) treatments.

Depending on the thickness, seborrheic keratosis can be removed with intense pulse lightchemical peels, or with a controlled cauterization technique called electrodesiccation.

In most cases, better results can be achieved with a series of treatments and good, healthy skin care that includes broad spectrum sunscreens and topical vitamin A and other topical antioxidants.