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Dark Spots

What are lentigines?

Lentigines are harmless flat, dark spots on skin that is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning. They are typically round with well-defined edges but can appear with an irregular shape, in shades of gray, brown, tan or black. There are different types based on their appearance and location.

In addition to UV radiation the risk of getting dark spots increases in people who have had radiation therapy or phototherapy (treatment with UV light). Sometimes lentigines are related to inherited conditions.

Where are lentigines found?

Lentigines are commonly found on the face, back of the hands, shoulders, upper back, neck and chest, arms and legs. They do not fade and may grow larger with time and age. Fair-skinned men and women older than forty are most often affected, but people of all skin types can develop lentigines.

While they are harmless and cause no symptoms, it is important to have a professional examine your dark spots to rule out skin cancer.

How are these spots diagnosed?

Dr. Michael Sotiriou can diagnose age spots, liver spots and solar spots based on their appearance. If there is a concern for skin cancer, he may use dermoscopy to evaluate the lesions or might recommend taking a biopsy.

How are these colored spots treated?

Lentigines do not require treatment, but treatment can improve their appearance. The goal is to fade the spots.

Over the counter treatments that can lighten age spots include topical niacinamide, vitamin C, kojic acid, and low dose retinoids. Use of mineral sun screens and sun-protective clothing can prevent sun damage and development of these spots.

Professional treatments include:

  • Topical bleaching creams that contain hydroquinone
  • RetinoidsChemical peelsCryotherapy by freezing the skin with liquid nitrogen to destroy the color caused by melanin.
  • Light electrodessication is a simple office procedure that uses an electric current to destroy pigmented lesions
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL)
  • Photodynamic therapy is a treatment in which a medicine is applied to the skin, left to incubate for 1-2 hours, and then activated by a light source.

When you are unhappy with dark spots, age spots, sun spots and other pigmented lesions contract Dr. Michael Sotiriou at Salt Lake Dermatology & Aesthetics in Salt Lake City Utah. Schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and to discuss your treatment options.

At a Glance

Dr. Michael Sotiriou

  • Board-certified, Residency-Trained Medical and Cosmetic Dermatologist
  • Sub-Specialty Board Certification in Mohs Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery from the American Board of Dermatology
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology
  • Learn more

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