Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed new spots on your skin that you would swear weren’t there the day before? This is common for many of us, especially as we age or spend time in the sun. While these spots are generally harmless, it is important to understand what they are and why they appear. At Dermatology Associates of Atlanta, we are all about skin care-from head to toe, for all ages and skin types. So, this March, we are highlighting red and brown spots as our skin condition of the month.
What Causes Red and Brown Spots:
Age, genetics, and sun exposure all play a role in the development of red and brown spots. And although many people are born with these spots, they are often called age spots or liver spots, because they generally increase as you get older. It is also important to note they have nothing to do with your liver. Instead, the spots that appear result from melanin, or pigment cells, that have clumped together in a high concentration. When our bodies are exposed to ultraviolet light like that of the sun or tanning beds, our pigment cells become overactive, developing these red and brown spots.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Red and Brown Spots:
Red and brown spots can appear on people differently depending on their skin tone, genetics, and amount of sun exposure. However, some symptoms are common among many patients. These symptoms include:
- Round or oval in shape
- Tan, dark brown, or red
- Can be a singular spot or appear in a cluster
- More commonly found on the face, neck, hands, and arms, but can appear anywhere
- Can be as small as a freckle or as large as ½ inch across
While red and brown spots are generally harmless, your dermatologist must examine any new spots, as some skin cancers can mimic the appearance of age spots. If you notice any new spots on your skin, especially if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact Dermatology Associates of Atlanta to schedule an examination.
- Black or unusual in color
- Growing in size and has an irregular border
- Discharge or blood
What are the Treatments for Red and Brown Spots:
There are a variety of treatments available for red and brown spots. The best course of treatment will be determined during your consultation at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta. Since each case is unique, we tailor each treatment to your needs, skin type and diagnosis, providing you with maximum results. In general, we have successfully treated red and brown spots with the following techniques:
- Topical Creams available by prescription only and can minimize the appearance of pre- cancer spots but work best in conjunction with other treatments.
- Cryosurgery utilizes extremely cold temperatures to freeze and destroy spots.
- Ablative and non-ablative laser treatments remove red and brown spots without damaging surrounding tissue. In some cases, more than one treatment may be needed to achieve the best possible results.
- Chemical peels resurface the skin and encourage new collagen and cellular production which minimize the appearance of age spots.
Getting expert Care at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
While most red and brown spots are harmless, it is important that you have any new spots examined by an experienced, board-certified dermatologist or physician assistant to rule out melanoma and other skin cancers. Our medical providers at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta have extensive experience evaluating and treating red and brown spots. If you have any concerns about new red and brown spots that have appeared or would like them diagnosed and removed, contact Dermatology Associates of Atlanta to schedule an appointment. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more skin care tips and practice updates.