Skin Spots, Not Necessarily From Aging
By Carol Belanger
Age spots, liver spots, sun spots; no matter what you call them they can be unsightly and bothersome. Listed below are the most common types of skin spots along with possible treatments to remove or diminish their appearance.
Age spots – actually have nothing to do with aging, they come about to how much exposure you have had to the sun. They are also referred to as liver spots but have nothing to do with the liver! In reality they should be called “sun spots”. They are flat, brown areas, also called solar lentigos, which typically occur on the hands, back and face. Using a topical retinoid often in conjunction with bleaching cream and a mild topical steroid may gradually fade an age spot. Home remedies such as lemon juice will also lighten brown spots however keep in mind that lemon juice is photo-sensitive thus avoid the sun exposure.
Melasma or Chloasma, aka the “mask of pregnancy” is tan or brown spots on the skin. They are common in pregnant women, those on hormone replacement therapy medications and those on birth control pills. Hormones stimulate the production of pigment-producing cells in the skin thus Melasma and when exposed to the sun the overproduction of melanin causing spotting is more apparent. These brown patches appear on the cheeks, nose, forehead or upper lip. Melasma can worsen overtime and usually is a cosmetic concern and benign. Treatments can include Azelaic Acid, Tretinoin, topical creams like Hydroquinone and chemical peels. Although if pregnant I would avoid using these types of treatments.
Cherry angiomas – are made of clusters of dilated capillaries on the surface of the skin. These small, smooth, cherry red spots are commonly found on the torso and they range from pinhead size to 1/4 inch across. Cherry angiomas can occur anytime in your life however they are most common after the age of 40. They are usually painless and harmless but due cosmetic reasons people prefer to have them removed. Large cherry angiomas can bleed profusely and because of this it is best to have them removed professionally. However topical applications of sandalwood and basil leaves may reduce the appearance of cherry angiomas.
Seborrheic keratoses – are one of the most common types of noncancerous (benign) skin growths in older adults. Most people will develop at least one seborrheic keratosis at some point in their lives. These brown, black or pale growths look waxy, as if they were dripped on the skin by a candle. They usually appear on the face, chest, shoulders and back, often in multiples. Their size ranges from 1/4 inch to 1 inch across. They can be removed with a simple surgical procedure or with liquid nitrogen. If these spots turns black or starts to itch or bleed then medical attention is needed to rule out any time of skin cancer. Additionally if numerous SK’s develop quickly see a dermatologist as this can indicate a serous health issue.
Skin tags – although not really a spot, skin tags are soft, flesh-colored growths that protrude out from the skin. Although skin tags need no medical attention, as they are usually benign, they are more bothersome because of cosmetic reasons. In addition, clothing can cause irritation. Liquid nitrogen which is found in wart remover can remove small skin tags. Additionally small skin tags can be literally clipped off however care should be taken to ensure your clippers are sterilized. Although this may sound painful it actually feels like just a pinch.
Although the skin spots are usually harmless, any skin spot that changes color, changes outline, bleeds, and itches or doesn’t heal should be checked for by a dermatologist. Better yet consider getting a skin checkup along with your yearly physical.
Cherry Angiomas Home Remedies