Sun spots, age spots, freckles, and brown spots are all names people use to describe discolored areas on the skin. It can seem like there’s no shortage of products and home remedies that promise to get rid of them, but you’ve probably tried a few with no results. The best way to get rid of brown spots is with the help of your board-certified dermatologist, so here’s what to know about brown spots and how you can get rid of them.

What Causes Brown Spots?

Brown spots are clusters of melanin in the skin. Melanin is what gives your skin its pigment, and sometimes it doesn’t distribute equally throughout the skin as it should. This can result in things like freckles, birthmarks, moles, or sun spots. Virtually every person has some kind of brown spot on their skin where the cells have clustered together, and these are typically harmless. When they begin to grow out of control, however, they can become cancerous.

Are Brown Spots Cancerous?

Brown spots are not inherently cancerous. However, there are certain things that can increase your risk of developing certain types of skin cancer:

  • You have blonde or red hair
  • There’s a history of cancer in your family
  • You have pale skin
  • You’ve had prolonged sun exposure from tanning or being outside
  • You have a higher number of moles than average

When Should I See a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist can keep an eye on your brown spots and determine whether they might put you at risk. You should see your dermatologist right away if:

  • One side looks different from the opposite side
  • It has blurred edges
  • There are different shades of color in one splotch, including irregular colors like blue, red, or white
  • It’s larger than the size of the eraser on a pencil
  • It changes its shape, size, or texture over time

Can Brown Spots Be Removed?

There are many high-tech laser solutions available for brown spots. The most effective is the PicoWay, which uses ultrashort light pulses to break up pigmentation. Over time, it sloughs off the surface of the skin and leaves behind clear, smooth skin. Although it can take a few treatment sessions, it’s one of the most effective options available – and it can even be used on darker skin tones which may not respond well to other options.

Skin treatments like chemical peels can also be a good way to remove brown spots over time, and they can be customized according to your skin’s needs. With a package of treatments, you can see great results with added improvement in your skin’s tone and clarity.

Schedule a Consultation

The best way to learn more about your treatment options for brown spots is to meet with a board-certified dermatologist who can make sure your skin stays healthy and cancer-free. To get started, contact our San Francisco office by calling or filling out our online contact form.