Brown Spots – What Causes Them and Can They Be Removed?

You have always taken great care of your skin, but lately, you started noticing brown spots appearing and disrupting your skin complexion and overall appearance. It is not even about how your look anymore as you are starting to think whether you should be worried. The good news is that, in most cases, there is no reason to worry about black spots. Make sure to read our guide to find out more on what these skin blemishes are and how you can treat and remove them.


What Are Brown Spots?

Brown spots are a discoloration of the skin that can occur anywhere, including scalp, face, shoulders, and arms. In most cases, the skin keeps the same texture and it is only the color that changes. Brown spots can look like a small freckle less than an inch in diameter, but they can also occupy an entire area on the skin. Some users also notice that they have multiple spots grouped in the same area.

In the majority of cases, these spots do not present a harm to your health. Most users only notice it when they check themselves out in the mirror as the spots affect their appearance and may be a cosmetic concern.


What Causes Brown Spots?

It is the overproduction of melanin that leads to brown spots. Melanin is a skin pigment responsible for tanning the skin. Exposure to sun rays is the primary reason of melanin overproduction and the leading cause of brown spots. Sun exposure is also the reason why these spots frequently appear on your face, neck, arms and other places that are exposed to UV rays more often.

The other factor that leads to brown spots is aging. As you age, there is an increased risk of them appearing, which is the reason why they are also called age spots. The experts believe that the riskiest group are people over the age of 50. However, young people can also develop them, especially if they frequently visit solariums or expose themselves to the sun.

It is interesting to mention that these blemishes used to be called liver spots, too. However, this usage is invalid because liver malfunction is not connected to brown spots appearing on your skin.

Brown Spots Removal

Can You Remove Brown Spots?

First, let’s talk about preventing sunspots. The experts advise that you should always wear a sunscreen when planning a prolonged exposure to the sun or when it is extremely hot. According to them, you should use at least an SPF 30 sunscreen. On top of that, try to avoid heading out between 10 AM and 3 PM, especially if you are living in areas with a warm climate. Wearing a hat or covering your skin can also be a way of protecting yourself against sunspots.

If the brown spots already appeared, there are ways to successfully remove them. You can try using topical products that can be bought in local drugstores or online. They do not require a prescription and can help in treating sunspots. There are also topical bleaching creams that you can consider using. In this case, do not expect overnight success as most bleaching products can take several months to deliver visible results and up to a year to completely remove the discoloration.

Some other methods of removing brown spots include chemical peels, laser therapy (IPL), and microdermabrasion. You may want to consider with your dermatologist to figure out the most suitable treatment for the specific type of your skin.


As you can see, brown spots are probably not something you should worry about. The discoloration may affect your appearance, but the good news is that you can treat and remove the blemishes efficiently with over-the-counter products.

There are, however, situations when you should consider seeing a dermatologist. These include cases when you feel tingling or itching or your brown spots become red and bleed. It is also advised to turn to a doctor if topical treatments do not seem to work. While the chances are they only present an aesthetic threat, to be on the safe side, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist whenever you are worried about a change on your skin.

A picture of Patrick J. O’Neill, MD wearing his doctor attire.

About the Author

Upon completing medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, Dr. O’Neill completed nine years of residency training. These nine years included a full general surgery and a plastic surgery residency, both at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a hand and microsurgery fellowship at the Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery. Dr. O’Neill has extensive certifications, training, skills, and knowledge that make him a successful physician who can carry out your next plastic surgery procedure. His expertise and technique will result in the beautiful and natural look you desire post surgery.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Sub-Certification in Hand and Microsurgery

Recommended Posts

Botox has seen a significant rise in popularity over the last 20 years, and with an increase in popularity comes an increase in Botox myths and …

Schedule a Consult