Many of my patients ask about dark spots on their face. These dark spots may have been apparent since birth, resulted from exposure to the sun, appeared after childbirth, or appeared with age.
The four most common types of dark spots are nevi, lentigo, melasma and seborrheic keratosis. The pigment in the “nevi” is very deep, and typically requires laser treatments.
“Lentigo” usually appears on the face and arms and is the result of sun exposure. These spots can also be deep, so a combination of laser treatments, chemical peels and topical medications is necessary to remove them. “Melasma,” often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy” because it appears shortly after pregnancy, as a result of hormonal changes and occurs on the face in a mask-like distribution on the cheeks. Finally the fourth type is called “seborrheic keratosis.” This type occurs with age and can occur more frequently in areas of sun exposure. The “seborrheic keratoses” can be flat or bumpy and can be removed with special instruments that scrape and burn them off the skin.
If dark spots are especially deep or thick a combination of laser, liquid nitrogen, and special instruments, may be used to remove them. The laser works by targeting the dark pigment and destroying it. Liquid nitrogen works by freezing and destroying the cold sensitive pigment cells and the instruments work by physically scraping off the surface of the dark spot and burning the base.
Dr. Michael T. Lin is a Board Certified Dermatologist. For more information, please feel free to contact us at 661-977-0144 or visit our website at www.drmichaellin.com .