Not all brown spots are alike! Accurate diagnosis leads to the removal and lightening of dark pigmentation

“True” or primary brown spots and dark pigmentation are harmless; however, our caring and skilled team at Ginsburg Dermatology Center understands that benign lesions remain no less bothersome. Plus, it is critical to differentiate accurately between harmless dark spots and cancerous lesions. Led by Dr. Barry Ginsburg, our team in Birmingham is equipped to restore the beauty and health of your skin safely, gently, precisely, and efficiently. 

Understanding dark spots 

Certain cells or melanocytes give our skin, eyes, and hair pigment or color. Sometimes, those cells in our skin can cluster together due to unprotected exposure to dangerous UVA-UVB light from the sun’s rays or artificial sources such as tanning beds. Our dermatologist applies his considerable experience and expertise to evaluate your skin and determine if the spots are just that, brown discoloration that requires cosmetic treatment, or if they are cancers that require prompt treatment such as precision Mohs surgery. Cancerous areas differ from harmless spots as they fail to heal and maybe painful, itch, or bleed. 

It’s also essential to distinguish among different types of pigmented skin problems. We’ve highlighted a few examples below, along with corresponding potential treatments to fade or improve the appearance of areas that are darker than the surrounding skin: 

  • Freckles – If you are a natural redhead or blonde with pale skin, chances are you have these small and flat brown marks. Freckles often fade in the winter because melanocyte cells produce more melanin or skin pigment when exposed to sunlight. Our team is adept at developing personalized skin care regimens that revolve around appropriate sun protection to reduce the number of freckles and prevent them from becoming permanent and more severe fixtures of your face. 
  • Solar Lentigines – As those melanocytes bunch together, they begin to look like large freckles or big discolored patches over time. A broad-spectrum UVA-UVB sunscreen is always a healthy practice to prevent more discoloration and future threats to the beauty of your skin and your overall health. Additionally, prescription-strength medications or topical retinoids may be recommended to lighten existing “age spots.” These and other products can be used in conjunction with therapies available at our center and spa; for instance, even the mildest or lightest micro derma peels may be administered to exfoliate or gently lift the outermost, damaged skin cells. This approach provides instant brightening and lightening (as well as other benefits, such as softer skin!). 
  • Melasma – Dr. Ginsburg may recommend topical creams, peels, and light-based therapies to treat this condition, which features large brown or bluish-gray patches, often on the cheeks, above the lips, forehead, and neck. However, melasma differs from other forms of hyperpigmentation mentioned here because it is associated with hormonal triggers like pregnancy. In fact, melasma is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” for this very reason. So, it’s essential to get to the bottom of the contributors to your changing skin, which then informs effective treatments. 

 Dark spots can be pretty noticeable and often detract considerably from the appearance of the face and other affected areas. We encourage you to contact us today to restore the evenly-toned skin that exudes self-confidence and assure that your skin and the “rest of you” remain healthy. Proudly serving Mountain Brook, Trussville, Pell City, Anniston, and greater north-central Alabama, Ginsburg Dermatology Center in Birmingham can be reached at (205) 209-4780. Or, book your consultation online at the “schedule appointment” button.

We look forward to meeting you!