Dark spots on legs can be very frustrating. You have the legs and confidence to wear shorts and skirts, but those brown spots on your legs are ruining everything. Fortunately, those marks can be removed. However, you need to make sure those spots are just a hyperpigmentation on the skin, which is called age spots.
Skin Problem or Skin Cancer?
Dark spots are also called liver spots or age spots. The reason they are called age spots is when people age, their skin produces more melanin. People over 40 years old are more prone to get dark spots. These spots are usually harmless and merely a cosmetic problem. However, some unusual brown spots on skin can also be indicator of melanoma (skin cancer). If your dark spots are very dark, grow fast, has various colors, itching, tender, bleeding, and has an irregular border, you should see a dermatologist and evaluate your dark spots.
Cause of Dark Spots
Dark spots on legs are usually caused by excessive and prolonged UV light exposure. Source of the UV light can be sun or tanning lights. Wearing a sunscreen before sun exposure, and avoid frequent tanning may protect your skin from getting dark spots. Aging is another cause of dark spots. Aging may cause over production of melanin and this cause hyperpigmentation on skin, hence the name age spots. Genetic reasons and hormonal imbalances are other causes of dark spots.
Treatment of Dark Spots
Dark spots can be treated by medication, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), dermabrasion, and chemical peeling. Treatment for dark spots will make your skin more sensitive to UV lights; therefore you should always wear sunscreen (at least SPF 30) before sun exposure.
Dark spot removal medications are usually bleaching creams. Hydroquinone is used to lighten the skin color. Sometimes retinoid and steroids are added to the formula. Regular use of bleaching creams will fade dark spots in a few months.
Laser treatment for dark spots is another option for treating dark spots on legs. Laser therapy will kill melanin producing cells, and reduce the appearance of brown marks on skin. Several sessions may be necessary for more severe cases. Laser treatment can also be used for severe acne scars.
Freezing (cryotherapy) is applying liquid nitrogen on to dark spots in order to destroy extra pigments. Freezing can cause irritation and scarring on the skin.
Dermabrasion is sanding down the top layer of skin in order to induce new skin growth. This treatment may cause temporary irritation and redness on the skin.
Chemical peeling basically means burning the top layer of the skin with acid, so new skin can grow. Discoloration, redness, irritation may occur after this treatment.
You may also consider home remedies for dark spots. These are inexpensive alternatives to cosmetic products. The most important thing is preventing your skin from getting dark spots. Protection from sun is very important, and significantly reduce the chance of getting age spots on legs.