Hyperpigmentation, or dark spots on the skin are a common problem that often develops during middle age. Many
different conditions can cause these spots to develop. If you are concerned about any unusual skin spots, however, particularly black spots on the skin then you should contact your health provider as soon as possible.
An often unrecognized cause of spots is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It’s a spot that happens after a trauma, such as an acne infection.
Skin diseases that cause dark spots include:
Melasma, a common skin issue that causes greyish brown patches on a person’s face. Most people experience it on their cheeks, forehead and bridge of the nose or upper lip. It is also common on any other part of the body that has frequent sun exposure, such as shoulders and forearms.
Riehl Melanosis is another facial pigmentation skin issue that causes dark brown or greyish patches. Riehl Melanosis is believed to be a photocontact dermatitis caused by sun exposure after using certain perfumes or creams.
Poikiloderma of CIvatte results in red and reddish brown patches on the neck.
Some medications will cause the skin to become more sensitive and cause dark spots, even without any exposure to the sun. A few of the most common medications to cause dark spots are:
Estrogens such as found in birth control pills, patches and injections
Tetracyclines, which are antibiotics, sometimes used to treat acne and rosacea
Amiodarone, used to treat various heart problems
Phenytoin, an anti-epileptic used to treat some types of seizures
Phenothiazine, which is not a drug, per say, but a compound found in some antipsychotic drugs and some antihistaminic drugs
Sulfonamide, which is found in antimicrobial medication and some diuretics
If you are currently taking one of the medications mentioned above and believe that it is what is causing your dar
k spots, you should still check to confirm with your doctor to ensure the spots are not something more serious.
There are several other conditions or diseases that can cause dark patches or spots on the skin:
Pregnancy can cause a condition called linea nigra which is a vertical line on the abdomen. This condition affects 75% of pregnant women.
Hemachromatosis is when the body absorbs too much iron.
When to be Concerned
If you have any new skin conditions, it’s best to consult your doctor. Black spots on the skin are not always but can be melanoma. Melanoma is a very treatable form of cancer that needs to be addressed as soon as it’s noticed, before the cancer has a chance to spread.
How to Prevent Dark Spots
Even if there’s nothing dangerous about your dark spots, you may want to take steps to avoid getting them. It’s a good idea to avoid getting dark spots, since they represent damage to your skin in most cases.
The easiest way to prevent skin discoloration is to always wear sunscreen. Recent legislation will require that sunscreen manufacturers indicate on the packaging whether the lotion protects from UVA, UVB or both.
You want to use a high SPF sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays. It will give you the additional benefit of also reducing the wrinkles you get.
Treating your discoloured skin varies depending on the cause. Scarring from acne, for example, would require a different regimen than a black spot on the skin caused by melanoma.
Acne scarring treatments
Acne scars can be treated with over-the-counter medications like Mederma, or with skin resurfacing treatments such as dermabrasion. Laser treatments are an option for heavy scarring. Severe acne scars require more advanced techniques.
If you have black spot on your skin, you may have melanoma and may need it removed. Removal also
includes a border of healthy tissue to ensure everything is taken off. You may have some scarring, which can be corrected later with dermabrasion.
Follow-up is often needed to ensure the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. If cancer is detected elsewhere, additional treatment is required.
Linea nigra treatment
Nothing needs to be done to treat or prevent linea nigra. It is considered a normal part of pregnancy and resolves on its own several months after giving birth.