Dark spots on legs are common, but that does not mean they are a welcomed skin blemish. People of all ages and skin colors can experience dark or brown spots on legs, arms and all over the body. While most skin spots are benign and harmless, many people want to diminish their appearance. Here is what you need to know about what causes dark or brown spots on the legs and the best treatments to fade these skin blemishes.
What Causes Brown Spots on the Legs?
Melanin is what gives your skin darker color – the darker the skin, the more melanin that is in the skin. Most brown spots like freckles or age spots occur when there is more melanin in an area. This can occur naturally – many people have freckles or spots on their legs from an early age. When brown spots appear on the legs as you get older, it can be due to a few different reasons. Some of the causes of dark spots on the skin include:
- Scars and discolorations. Scars from a skin injury, acne or skin conditions can cause dark spots on the skin. This can occur anywhere on the face or body, including the legs.
- Sun damage. One of the most common causes of dark spots on legs is sun damage. These are also called age or liver spots, usually occurring more frequently with age.
- Hyper-pigmentation. Certain skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis can result in hyper-pigmentation or dark areas on the skin.
- Melanoma or skin cancer. Any new skin growth or mole should be monitored. Dark spots on the legs that are irregularly or change in shape, size or color should be examined by a doctor to ensure they are not melanoma or another type of skin cancer.
Dark spots are usually harmless and do not pose a health threat. Wearing sunscreen is one way to protect your skin and it can often prevent the formation of new spots on your legs. However, if you are unhappy with the appearance of brown spots on your legs, there are treatments to fade these blemishes.
Brown or Dark Spot Treatment Options
Dark spots on legs can usually be resolved with non-invasive cosmetic treatments. There are over-the-counter treatments that you can try, as well as cosmetic procedures through a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The treatments can fade or bleach the dark areas on the legs through the skin or remove pigmented skin cells to create a more even skin tone. Here are some of the dark spot treatment options available that can be effective at fading brown leg spots.
- Topical Creams
- One of the least expensive and readily available treatments for dark or brown spots on legs are topical creams. These are available over the counter in the health and beauty aisles and can be effective at fading some types of pigmented spots on the legs. These creams are used for skin lightening and vary on the degree of success. There are also topical creams that can be obtained by prescription from a dermatologist or doctor. These creams are more likely to be designed to address your specific type of dark spot for a higher rate of success in treatment.
- Chemical Peels
- Enzymes and certain natural acids that are used in chemical peels can be effective at removing dark spots on the skin. While most people think of chemical peels for the face to address signs of aging or other skin blemishes, this treatment can also be used to fade dark spots on the legs. Chemical peels can be performed by a skin specialist like a dermatologist or aesthetician.
Laser Skin Treatments
One of the most effective options for dark spot treatment is laser therapy. Laser skin treatments are non-invasive and can be used to target darker pigmented skin cells that cause dark spots. There are various types of laser skin treatments – a dermatologist, plastic surgeon or other skin specialist can determine the best laser treatment to remove your dark or brown spots. Most laser skin treatments can be performed in less than an hour with no downtime needed for recovery. The light energy targets darker pigmented cells, destroying only these cells within the skin. Within a few weeks, most brown or dark spots on legs can fade or disappear permanently with laser skin treatments.
Which Brown Spot Treatment Is Right for You?
Since there are different types of dark or brown spots that can occur on the legs and various causes, treatment can vary person to person. To find the right treatment to remove your dark spots, contact your doctor or dermatologist for a consultation. They can examine your trouble spots and determine what treatment will be safest and most effective to remove those blemishes from your legs and other areas on your body.