Pigmented lesions that tend to be brown or black in colour are caused by an excessive number of pigment-producing cells in the skin, known as melanocytes. When stimulated by hormonal changes or exposure to ultraviolet light, the melanocytes produce large amounts of melanin, resulting in dark discolorations of the skin. Actinic keratoses, lentigines (age spots or liver spots), freckles, and melasma are common examples of these changes in the skin. A trained eye (dermatologist) and/or a pathological reading are often needed to distinguish between these lesions.
There are a number of treatment options for these conditions, which can include cryotherapy (cold therapy with liquid nitrogen), chemical peels, surgical removal, bleaching creams, and lasers. Lasers have made a significant impact on the safe and effective treatment of brown spots. Discrete, well defined lesions such as liver spots may be removed by pigment removal lasers, such as the Alexandrite and PicoWay lasers, or vaporizing laser, such as the CO2 laser. Phototherapy (light) treatments, such as the Limelight, are used to remove diffuse, multiple lesions.
**Actual patients. Individual results may vary.
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