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Last Updated: Nov 20, 2020
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Black Spots on Skin: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

About Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment Side effects Post-treatment guidelines Cost Cure Results Prevention Home remedies

What are the black spots on the skin?

Black spots are small darkened blemishes formed on the skin. The black spots on your skin are signs of aging and sun exposure. These spots are also caused by high pollution of melanin pigments. The ultraviolet rays of the sun might also cause these black spots on your skin. The black spots can occur on your face, on your hands, shoulders and also on your forearms.

Age is an important factor for the black spots that occur. The skin becomes more prone to these conditions with aging and the melanin pigments of your body do not function properly. However the black spots on your skin or age spots are not harmful to your skin.

Black spots are caused by the overproduction of melanin. However, in young people black spots are because of too much sun exposure. UV rays speed up the production of melanin and the skin turns dark to protect itself from cellular destruction. Sometimes these black spots may be a sign of skin cancer or other abnormalities and can spread over your skin gradually.

What are the symptoms of black spots on the skin?

The black spots are typically in the ranges of brown. The color of black spots depends upon the skin tone and painless. They generally occur on body parts that are exposed to the sun. Symptoms of black spots are:

  • Oval and flat because of increased pigmentation
  • Tan to dark brown
  • Usually occurs on the region exposed to skin for a period of time like the top of feet, face, hands, shoulders
  • Can form a cluster with time

Are black spots dangerous on the skin?

Black spots are normal in an aged person. Black spots on a young person caused by UV exposure, hyperpigmentation when an area of skin produces more than usual melanin are not a case of concern. They don’t require treatment, however, black spots can be eliminated for the cosmetics. Black spots are a cause of concern when:

  • They are bumpy and grow in months to a year
  • Sore and don’t heal with time
  • Spots are crusty and oozing
  • Skin appears red, flaky, or scaly
  • Skin bleeding, swelling, pain, tender, and scratchy

The symptoms above are of melanoma. Hence, if the spots appear similar to above, it is important to get checked.

What causes black spots on the skin?

Black spots on the skin are caused by various factors. A few of them are:

  • Sun damage: Sunspots, liver spots, solar lentigines develop because of excessive exposure to skin. The most commonplace for the liver sport to occur are the face, hands, shoulder.
  • Medication: Some medications can cause skin pigmentation as a side-effect. The most common are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs.
  • Hormonal changes: Melasma, a common hormonal skin condition in women that leads to the formation of discolored patches on the skin.
  • Inflammation: Formation of dark spots after inflammation. It occurs for many reasons like an injury to the skin, eczema, acne, psoriasis.
  • Wound healing after cuts, insect bites. These fade over time.
  • Hypersensitive reaction to cosmetic products.
  • Diabetes: Some regions of skin become dark because of diabetes. The disorders include velvety skin, diabetic dermopathy, acanthosis nigricans.

How to diagnose black spots on skin?

Dark spots are diagnosed by examining the condition of the skin. If the spots seem severe, the doctor can perform a biopsy to discover the underlying cause of dark spots. A small patch of skin is removed and tested for abnormalities that are causing dark spots.

How to treat black spots on skin?

There are many procedures by which the age spots can be reduced and removed. The most common forms of treatment are:

  • Retinoid solutions:

    These contain retinoic acid and alpha hydroxy acid which promotes healthy skin growth, speeds up exfoliation, and cell multiplication. Retinoid solutions can make skin sensitive to UV radiation and cause dryness.

    Therefore, it is important to wear sunscreen when using the products continuing retinoid solutions. Results will be slow because retinoid solutions take months to be effective.

  • Laser treatment:

    The laser is an invasive treatment for lightening dark spots. In this, a high energy laser is directed at the dark spots which remove skin layer by layer. This solution is faster than the topical solutions but there are some side-effects:

    • Tightness
    • Scaring
    • Bruising
    • Swelling
    • Infection
    • Change in skin texture
  • Bleaching creams:

    It is a popular topical treatment for skin pigment lightening. The quantity of Hydroquinone in over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs is small.

    The concentration of hydroquinone is small because of its toxicity at a large percentage. If there are any side-effects like unusual darkening of the skin, stop using it. It is advisable to not use Hydroquinone products for a prolonged duration.

  • Chemical peels:

    Peels and the exfoliating products remove the dead layer of skin. The skin layer after the removal is healthy and evenly toned. There is however a possibility of skin irritation.

  • Cryosurgery: There is also a system of cryosurgery where liquid nitrogen helps to freeze the specific age spots. It should be noted that no cosmetic can cure age spots, it can only cover these spots for a specific period of time.

Certain ointments are prescribed that help to reduce the inflammated pores of your skin and reduce the chances of developing the black spots on your skin. Sometimes if the condition is not that severe, you can avoid the process of treatment as it might be a mere case of melanin disorder which is pretty common with aging.

Are there any side effects?

The side effects for the treatment are quite low. Common side effects may involve irritation, redness of the skin etc. There are instances where you might not be comfortable with a certain lotion or a cream and you might develop skin allergies from it as well.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

You should avoid direct sun exposure if you notice that the patches are coming back for the same. In that case you should use sunscreen lotions of minimum SPF 30. You should also continue with the medicinal bleachers and ointments. If your black spots are still coming back then consult with your dermatologist.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of the treatment including therapies and the medications range from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 30,000.

How to tackle and cure black spots on skin?

Black spots with age are unavoidable and common, however, black spots in young people can be tackled with some precautions. Black spots in youngsters are usually caused by excessive sun exposure. Hence, it is crucial to constantly wear sunscreen with an SPF higher than 30 when out in the sun.

If possible, keep your arms and top of the feet covered. Wear sunglasses and a hat for the face. Avoid sun exposure between 10:00 to 16:00, sun rays are usually at the peak between these hours.

Take immediate treatment of the black spots. The treatment could be natural, chemical, or home remedies.

  • Natural treatment includes:
    • Pomegranate extract
    • Licorice extract
    • Vitamin C
    • Beta carotene
    • Azelaic acid

    These are easily available natural components that can help combat black spots.

  • Chemical components include: Over-the-counter medications that contain Retinooid solutions, hydroquinone, alpha-hydroxy, etc. these are also present in prescription drugs. There is a probability of the emergence of side-effects like skin scratching, dryness, irritation, redness, etc. Stop using if you get side-effects from products containing these chemicals.
  • Home remedies: Are a safer but slower solution to black spots. They are simple, easy to use, and minimal chances of side-effects. Home remedies for black spots are made with yogurt, papaya, honey, turmeric, tomato, aloe vera. These products just have to be crushed into a paste and applied as a mask. They will exfoliate the dead and dry layer of skin and promote skin rejuvenation and radiance.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

To obtain the finest results, you need to give it some time. However, with proper therapies and medications the results are permanent unless you are very old and the melanin pigments of your body do not respond to the medications.

How to prevent black spots on skin?

It is hard to prevent dark spots. Like melasma caused by pregnancy hormonal changes is not preventable. But there can be limited, some precautions can be taken to tackle it:

  • Always wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your skin
  • Treatment of conditions such as ache, eczema that leads to inflammation.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Avoid peak hours, between 10:00 to 16:00.

Home remedies to treat black spots on skin

The following are the home remedies to treat black spots on skin:

  • Turmeric:

    Turmeric is an antiseptic that is also useful in skincare. Turmeric inhibits the production of melanin which promotes skin hyperpigmentation. Turmeric helps fade the dark spots and rejuvenates the skin.

    Turmeric mask can be made with turmeric powder and honey. Lemon can also be used in place of honey if the skin is not sensitive and there are no open pores on the skin.

  • Papaya:

    Papaya contains alpha-hydroxy acid which is present in skincare products. It is a natural skin exfoliant. Papaya helps in the skin improvement layer by layer. It exfoliates the dead and skin and reveals the healthy skin underneath.

    Papaya also promotes collagen production which improves skin elasticity. To make a papaya mask for the face, simply mash papaya and apply the paste on the skin.

  • Almond oil:

    Almond is useful in both skincare and kitchen. Almond contains niacin and Vitamin E that helps with skin pigmentation and skin rejuvenation.

    Almond strengthens the skin and treats discoloration. Almond oil can be added to regularly used skincare products like moisturizers or make remover to avail of its benefits.

  • Aloe Vera:

    Dark spots caused by scarring are difficult to remove. Aloe vera helps make skin pliable, as this will reduce the risks of pigmentation. Aloe Vera adds moisture to the skin and heals it from the inside.

    Aloe Vera juice can be used, it has various benefits apart from skincare. Aloe Vera gel can be utilized as a moisturizer on the skin. The sticky substance from the Aloe Vera can be extracted at home and applied on skin and scars.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hello madam i've dark patches, spots on my face and doctor suggested me to use hydroquinone and melaglow prime. So after used for 1 and a half month and when I stopped it for week, the dark spots, and patches seems once again on my face. So what should I do will stop it or use it continuously. Thanking you in advance.

MD - Dermatology, MBBS
Dermatologist, Jaipur
Hello lybrate-user, dark spots occur due to different reasons. Hydroquinone based and steroid containing creams are usually prescribed under supervision and for a limited period of time. I wil advise you to stop applying hydroquinone cream as it c...

I have severe uniform black patches all over my temporal and forehead region .i am 61 years old .it started with menopause but it not cliasma .it is a atypical uniform black colour patch it is only on my face .no other part of my body has this what could be the reason, and what is the remedy .please sugest?

D.D.V.L, F.A.C.S.I, M.B.B.S
Dermatologist, Delhi
Thanks for enquiry. For pigmentation problem do apply sunscreen, avoid much sun exposure. It is usually also hereditary ,thyroid related ,sun exposure, wrong cream application ,less sleep ,free radicals deposited on skin etc. Do apply sunscreen ,u...

Actually I have applied derobin on my skin by mistake and now my skin is burning with red rashes all over my leg what should I do?

MD - Dermatology, MBBS
Dermatologist,
Stop immediately. Use moisturizer (vaseline/coconut oil/dermadew aloe lotion ). Take tab allegra m once daily at night. If no improvement occur consult with proper dermatologist. In present covid pendemic, you can take online consultation through ...

I am having red bumps on my arms and no where on my body. It's been 6 years I have this issue I was using moisturex cream but found no results. It's call keratosis pilaris. Please let me know how can I treat it at home with some creams and right food. Thanks in advance:)

D.D.V.L, F.A.C.S.I, M.B.B.S
Dermatologist, Delhi
-keratosis pilaris is common, harmless skin condition that causes dry, rough patches and tiny bumps, -often on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks or buttocks. The bumps usually don't hurt or itch. -keratosis pilaris is caused by the buildup of keratin...

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