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Dark Spots

Medical Dermatology & Surgical and Cosmetic Dermatology in Fenton, Chesterfield and O'Fallon, MO

Dark Spots services offered in Fenton, Chesterfield and O'Fallon, MO

Dark spots on your skin are usually due to sun damage. If you develop dark spots, visit Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center in Fenton, Chesterfield, or O’Fallon, Missouri, for an evaluation. While they aren’t dangerous, dark spots can be unsightly, and there’s a slight risk they could be cancerous. You can have laser therapy to lighten dark spots, and your doctor can check for cancer, just to be sure. For an expert assessment of dark skin spots, call your nearest Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center office today or book an appointment online.

Dark Spots Q&A

What are dark spots?

Dark skin spots are flat areas of varying sizes that appear on places like your hands, face, shoulders, and arms, where you get the most sun exposure. These dark spots develop when the skin’s epidermal cells react to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, which speeds up melanin production.

Melanin is the natural pigment that gives your skin its color. It also turns your skin a darker shade when you tan. If the skin suffers repeated exposure to UV rays, it can develop brown or black spots or patches that are known by several names, including:

  • Sun spots
  • Age spots
  • Brown spots
  • Liver spots
  • Solar lentigines

Dark spots are common in adults aged 50 and over, but young people can also get them if they spend a lot of time in the sun.

Are dark spots a sign of skin cancer?

When a dark spot appears on your skin, you might worry about it being skin cancer. Fortunately, in most cases, dark spots are due to harmless changes in the skin’s melanin levels. They’re most likely to result from your skin trying to protect itself from further sun damage.

However, it’s always sensible to visit Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center if you get new dark spots to ensure they’re not cancerous.

How are dark spots treated?

As long as they’re definitely not caused by a condition like cancer, dark spots don’t require any treatment. However, you might choose to undergo a lightening procedure if their appearance bothers you.

The Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center team can treat your dark spots using painless, noninvasive light energy. Laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) systems break down the darker cells in the age spot without harming other areas of the skin.

Following your treatment, you see the dark skin coming away as new skin tissue grows underneath. The new skin doesn’t have dark pigment in it, so your dark spots disappear.

Can I prevent dark spots?

The best way to avoid dark spots forming is to protect your skin from the sun and tanning machines (which also use UV light). Use sunscreen when you’re out in the sun and keep your skin covered where possible.

To find out more about treating dark spots and checking for skin cancer, call Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center today or book an appointment online.