Blemishes or Brownish Spots Over the Skin

You may have commonly seen brown to brownish black spots occurring over the skin. They develop spontaneously, giving no other trouble along with.

These spots, which are absolutely harmless, are called blemishes, age spots, sometimes referred to as liver spots or solar spots.

Recognizing Blemishes

  • They occur over portions of skin more exposed to the sun, like, skin over the arms, forearms, face, upper back, feet etc.
  • The spots are usually many, scattered over an area. Sometimes, a few may fuse to form a bigger spot. However, they are usually small (like freckles) and numerous.
  • They may be round to oval in shape.
  • They are flat, that is, not raised over the surface.
  • No other accompanying symptoms, like itching, pain, redness, discharge etc. They are absolutely non complaining. The only problem is that they don’t look that good.

What Are They?

So many names suggest their mystery. Why they occur cannot be said with exactness. However, they are associated with overall duration of sun exposure to the skin.

These spots are seen as an individual ages up, and occur over the parts of skin getting more sun. These are, therefore, called age spots or solar spots.

Earlier, it was believed that people having liver problems get more of them. However, there is no clinical evidence supporting this theory.

Conditions making you at a higher risk of getting them include-

  • Being fair or having a light skin color.
  • Spending more time in the sun
  • After activities like tanning or UV light therapies, where you get exposed to more of such rays.
  • After certain inflammatory conditions inside the body, like malignancies, autoimmune disease etc. This may be called post inflammatory hyper pigmentation.
  • After radiotherapies

Mechanism

Upper layers of our skin contain specialized cells called melanocytes. These special cells secrete a pigment called melanin that protects the deeper layers of the skin from harmful effects of UV and other harmful radiations.

Brown spots occur when certain cells get stimulated by some trigger to produce more of melanin. The trigger may be sun rays, other radiations or some stimulus from inside the body, as in inflammatory conditions.

Harmful Signs

Brown spots are harmless and nothing needs to be done to remove them. However, you need medical attention if you see any of the following signs-

  • Any of the spots suddenly becomes big in size.
  • Spot becomes painful or starts oozing out some fluid.
  • Margins of the brown spots become irregular.
  • If you note any of the spot becoming hard or raised above the skin surface.

Treatment

Usually, medical treatment is not required. These spots are harmless, and may stay as such for years.

However, some people may want to remove them for cosmetic reasons.

Common Methods

  • Removal by medicines- Hydroqinone may be used under the guidance of a doctor to remove the spots
  • Dermabrasion- Since the spot is located over the superficial layer of the skin, it may be scraped off. A rough sandy surface is rubbed over the skin surface by constant rotations, till the spot is rubbed off. The resultant area stays red and raw for some time and gradually heals up.
  • Cryotherapy- Liquid nitrogen may be used over the spots to freeze and remove it.
  • Removal by chemical peeling

Home remedies

If you want to bleach your brown spots naturally, there are ways.

  • Make a pack of yogurt and ground oatmeal. Add a few drops of lemon juice to it. Apply it over the brown spots and leave it for half an hour. Lactic acid in curd would work on the spots to lighten it. Repeated application of this pack would lighten the spots in a month or two.
  • Raw papaya juice has bleaching properties and can be used for lightening these spots.
  • Onion juice may be used. Onion is both acidic and a anti aging. Slice a onion and rub a slice of it two or three times a day. This would gradually lighten those spots.