spots, pigmentation, and freckles occur on the face, neck, chest,
back, arms, and legs. They occur in areas of sun exposure and the
more sun exposure one has had over the years, the more brown spots
and sun damage that will develop over time. These brown spots signify
sun damage and are mainly of cosmetic concern; however, people who
have had extensive sun exposure must monitor their skin for skin
cancers that may develop. These brown spots are a sign of premature
aging of the skin and make people appear older than they are. Brown
spots on the backs of hands are particularly aging for many people.
In a recent study, people who had brown spots on their faces were
judged to be 10 to 20 years older than their actual age.
Since we know that brown spots are signs of sun damage, it is very
important to use sun protection. Protecting your skin from the sun
will help prevent more brown spots and further sun damage. Teenagers
who frequent tanning salons can start to develop brown spots before
they reach their 20’s, so it is important to avoid these salons.
Sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses help prevent further
sun damage. Exposure time in the sun should be limited and seek
shade when outdoors. Try to avoid outdoor activities between 10
am and 3 pm, when the ultraviolet rays are strongest. See a dermatologist
yearly for a skin examination to check for any abnormal moles or
Creams containing tretinoin, alphahydroxy acids, and antioxidants
can help prevent further brown spots and sun damage. They also help
reverse sun damage and improve the appearance of brown spots.
Cosmetic treatments that help fade brown spots and reverse sun damage
include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, intense pulsed light,
Levulan® photodynamic therapy with Blu-U light, and Fraxel® laser