One of the most common reasons clients visit VIDA is to treat brown spots, but those spots could be caused by a number of skin issues—and getting the right diagnosis is critical to determining the best treatment. Brown spots are caused by hyperpigmentation of the skin and could be triggered by sun damage, hormones, genetics, or a past trauma (such as an old acne scar). A very common cause of brown spots is UV damage, and it can take years for hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage to appear.

When our skin, the biggest organ, is being damaged by UV rays it responds by producing more melanin. This can present as a tan, but uneven brown spots are also a symptom of sun damage. Hyperpigmentation from sun damage can vary somewhat in color and size. UV rays can also cause new moles and freckles, although these two types of brown spots also have genetic components. Unlike “sun spots,” moles and freckles are typically darker.

Another Type of Hyperpigmentation

There is another type of hyperpigmentation known as melasma, colloquially known as the mask of pregnancy. This is a larger spot that can range in color from tan or brown to gray and is often found across the bridge of the nose, cheeks, or other part of the face. It occurs most often in those who are pregnant, thus the nickname, and is thought to be caused by hormone fluctuations.

Melasma is not typically dangerous, unlike moles which might be cancerous or pre-cancerous. However, all types of hyperpigmentation may be considered unsightly. It is possible to remove and/or lighten any type of hyperpigmentation for aesthetic reasons, but if you do have a spot that is suspicious VIDA has medical doctors on-site at all times. Your safety always comes first and it’s important to ensure a potentially cancerous spot is properly biopsied prior to any cosmetic treatments.

Cosmetic removal of brown spots and hyperpigmentation should be customized to the client. This can include treatments with intense pulsed light (IPL) or broadband light (BBL) rejuvenation or medical-grade skin care products. Learn more about your options for brown spot treatments at VIDA by calling (503) 399-0021 today.