Most people, especially those over the age of 50, develop a dark spot on skin. There are various probable explanations, but usually, they are simply age spots. When you notice brown spots on your skin, there are two things to consider. Do you need to see a doctor about them, and two, can you get rid of them?
What Are the Brown Spots on Skin?The most plausible explanation is age spots. Age spots are small, flat areas of dark pigmentation on the skin. They come in various sizes and are most typically found on the face, hands, shoulders, and arms, as well as in other sun-exposed locations. Age spots are also known as sunspots, liver spots, and solar lentigines. Actual age spots do not need to be treated, but they suggest excessive sun exposure and your skin’s attempt to protect itself from more sun damage. They might be faded or removed for aesthetic reasons.
What If They Are Not Age Spots?Although age spots are the most plausible explanation for a dark spot on skin, it is not the only one. If you see these patches primarily around your ankles, it might be a symptom of venous insufficiency. This condition occurs when the valves in the lower leg veins fail to operate correctly, allowing blood to pool inside the channel. As a result, the vessel weakens, and, in certain circumstances, the pooled blood may be seen on the skin’s surface. It might resemble a brown spot.
What Causes the Pooling?Veins drive blood to the heart, which pumps it to the lungs for oxygen. This is difficult since veins frequently operate against gravity. The blood is pumped by muscle built into the vein walls, and valves control its flow. As the vein muscles contract, the valves open to allow blood to flow ahead. The valves close when the muscle relaxes, preventing blood from flowing backward. The walls of the veins get weaker and lose part of their suppleness as a person ages. When this occurs, the valves may gap slightly when closed. As a result, some blood might flow backward and pool around the next healthy valve. This pooling blood may be seen if the vein is close to the skin’s surface. These are varicose or spider veins.
Symptoms of Varicose VeinsFor many, the primary symptom is seeing the veins through their skin. They may look like cords that are bulging or make a dark spot on skin. Some also experience heavy or achy legs, muscle cramping in the lower legs, and pain when they sit or stand for a long time. There may be itching around the problem vein, as well.
Other Possible Causes of Dark Spots On SkinOnce you rule out age spots or venous insufficiency, you will need to consider other possible causes, such as:
- Inflammation-caused skin damage – Acne, eczema, psoriasis, or a skin injury can cause skin inflammation and result in brown spots.
- Diabetes – Some people with diabetes have black bands of skin. Although they are not generally found on the legs, you should rule them out.
- Melanoma – Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that forms dark spots on the skin, which is why it is vital to have your skin checked on a regular basis. While skin patches may appear harmless, there is always the potential that they are cancerous.