Sunspots on Skin

Sunspots are brownish spots on skin which are usually caused due to excessive exposure to the harmful UV and UVB rays of the sun. Unlike moles, sunspots are flattened and may look like freckles. However, they are not as light or as tiny as freckles. In rare cases, white sunspots on skin may also occur.

Sunspots are not painful but look unsightly. In certain instances, they may also be a symptom of skin cancer. Sunspots generally occur on body areas which are frequently exposed to the sun’s rays, especially the face.

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Causes of sunspots on skin

Some of the different causes of sunspots on skin are listed below:

  • Increased exposure to ultraviolet rays: Sunspots are mainly caused due to excessive exposure to UV rays. It may be caused via artificial sources like tanning beds or through natural sunlight. Exposure to ultraviolet rays leads to increased production of melanin by the body. This is done to protect the skin from elevated radiation.
  • Sun allergies: Individuals with sun allergies may also develop sunspots after a visit to the beach or exposure to sunlight when outdoors. Contact with sun light causes an allergic reaction in the skin which results in development of sunspots. Patients may visit a doctor to check for presence of sun allergies.
  • Increased melanin: Certain sections of the skin will manufacture greater amounts of melanin thereby making those areas seem darker than normal. It can arise when that part of skin is constantly exposed to sunlight as opposed to other areas. It may also be noted that aged skin experiences more difficulties in getting rid of excess melanin, and hence older people have more sunspots. Some individuals may also have an inherited abnormality which makes them more vulnerable to stacking of melanin, which in turn causes sunspots on skin.
  • Sunburn: Individuals who have suffered from extreme sunburn will experience the formation of white sunspots on the affected area after it heals. This is indicative of the fact that the sunburn damaged the pigmentation in that specific area of skin. People with fairer skin are at greater risk to this problem as compared to individuals with darker skin.

Treatment of sunspots on skin

The formation of sunspots on skin can be prevented and treated in the following ways:

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  • Individuals vulnerable to development of sunspots on skin must avoid direct contact with sunlight when it is at its peak, i.e. from 10 AM to 4 PM. In case you are unable to avoid the outdoors, then ensure that you limit the area of exposed skin by wearing full sleeved shirts and pants made from cotton or other loose fabrics.
  • People with sun allergies can consult a doctor and then use topical medications to clear the sunspots and also to alleviate the accompanying pain, if any.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply the sunscreen after every 2 to 3 hours as the cream can get removed by exposure to water and sweat
  • Various surgical means are also available to remove sunspots on skin. Consult a cosmetic surgeon to know all the options.

Sunspots on skin pictures

Areas on face that are affected by sunspots

Sunspots on Skin

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