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What Causes Brown Spots on Skin?

Causes of Brown Spots
Brown spots on skin are one of the most common signs of aging. They typically appear as small brown blotches on the surface of the skin, and, though they can be embarrassing, they usually are not a cause for major concern. Often referred to as age spots, sun spots or liver spots, they can be caused by a number of different factors. The most common culprit, though, is the sun.

Causes of Brown Spots On Skin

Brown spots on skin are most often caused by frequent or prolonged exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet (UV) light sources such as tanning beds or sun lamps. UV light increases the production of melanin, a dark pigment in the skin.

When a tan develops, it is due to melanin creating a darker barrier on the outer layers of the skin to help protect the deeper layers from damage. Sometimes, though, the extra melanin can clump together, resulting in dark splotches on the skin. This usually occurs after the age of 40 as the result of spending a lot of time in the sun earlier in life. They also tend to develop later in life because increased melanin production is a natural part of aging. These brown spots on skin can take years to develop to the point of being noticeable.

Treating Brown Spots on My Skin

The best method in treating brown spots on skin is to avoid them in the first place. When possible, avoid going out in the sun during the hours when UV rays are most intense, between 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon. When this is not possible, keep the skin protected. Tightly knitted clothing or clothing designed specially to block out UV rays should be worn to ensure the highest degree of protection. Wearing a wide brimmed hat will protect your face. Sunscreen is also essential. Make sure to choose one that is SPF 50 or higher and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply 30 minutes prior to heading outdoors, and reapply every two hours. It should be reapplied more frequently if you are in the water or sweating.

If you already have age spots, there are ways to lighten them and make them considerably less noticeable. Simple laser treatments can be performed to break up the clumps of melanin. Topical bleaching creams are also widely available. They are applied to the skin on a regular basis, and, in time, they lighten dark spots.

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