If you have noticed that, as you start to get older, brown spots are showing up on your skin, and you are wondering if there is any correlation, there is definitely a connection. These spots commonly occur on aging skin as a result of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays over the years. The primary source of these rays is the sun. However, if you have spent time in tanning beds, you have been exposed to UV rays there, too.
Melanin is the substance in your skin that provides pigment. Exposure to the sun causes the upper layer of the skin, called the epidermis, to produce more melanin as a way of protecting the deeper layers against damage from the UV rays. This extra melanin is also what makes you tan as you spend time in the sun or in a tanning bed.
Over the years, melanin can begin to concentrate unevenly throughout the aging skin. These concentrated places then show up as spots that are commonly referred to as age spots. They can vary in size from very tiny to relatively large. Sometimes, a number of small spots can be grouped together, giving the appearance of a larger pigmented area on the surface of the skin.
As long as these age spots are nothing more than places on the skin that have more pigment than the surrounding area, there is nothing to worry about. However, if you notice a sudden change or a spot that is rapidly growing larger, taking on an irregular shape or changing colors, you should have it examined by our medical team to rule out some form of skin cancer. If that turns out to be the case, catching it early makes a big difference.
Even though these common age spots are no cause for alarm as far as health hazards are concerned, many people do not like their appearance. The perception can be that they make one look older. For this reason, many individuals choose to undergo treatment to return their aging skin to a smoother texture.
There are a number of treatment options available for brown spots and aging skin. Laser and light therapy are two of the most popular treatment methods that are currently in use. Both methods use concentrated light that is directed toward the spots that are to be removed. Other treatment methods use special tools or solutions to basically remove the top layer of skin.
Schedule an appointment at Dr. Yeoman’s Dermatology Office to learn more about how your brown spots and aging skin can be treated. We have offices in Poplar Bluff and Paragould. Contact us today to request a consultation.