We receive many questions here on SkinCareConnection about everything from asking about the best treatments for acne to asking about the possible causes of a rash. The very best person to ask such questions is always your doctor or dermatologist. They are going to be able to look at you in person, read your medical history, and most importantly, prescribe the right treatment for your condition. What we can do here for you is to provide information and resources so you can become better educated about your choices for treatment.
We are fortunate to have the expert advice of Dr. Lawrence Green, a practicing dermatologist in the Maryland area, to help answer some of your skin care questions. One of the more frequently asked questions we receive is about how to treat brown spots on the face. Member Delsene asks this question:
Q: I am black and I have these brown spots on my face. What can I use to get rid of them?
Dr. Green answers: You are asking a very common question that I hear every day in my office. The answer depends on what kind of “brown spots” you are referring to. Some of the most common “brown spots” I see are sun freckles, pigmentation from acne, and benign keratoses.
Sun freckles are flat lighter brown, irregular shaped patches. Acne can also heal with small, pencil eraser sized brown spots.
Benign keratoses (sometimes called DPN’s) are raised growths that are elevated above the skin, rather than being a part of the skin like sun freckles and acne marks. I often prescribe bleaching creams (hydroquinones) with and without recommending in office light chemical peels for sun freckles and acne marks.
For treating benign keratoses, I often lightly burn them off in the office.
That said, I would recommend seeing your dermatologist not just to find out what kind of “brown spots” you have, but also to see what treatment(s) is/are best for you.
Thank you Doctor Green for answering this question
In addition here are some links to further information and resources about the possible causes for brown spots and what you can do about them.
Hyperpigmentation and melasma (darkening of the skin)
"¢ Topical Agents Used in the Management of Hyperpigmentation (Skin Therapy Letter)
"¢ Melasma (Dermal Network)
"¢ Hyperpigmentation and African American Skin (Dr. Susan Taylor’s Dark Skin.Net)
Treatments for Brown Spots
"¢ See Spot Go
Thank you to all our members who ask questions and who also answer them. We plan to make this a monthly feature where we will spotlight one member question which will be answered by Dr. Green. Let us know if you have a special question for the doctor and we will see what we can do!