After a lifetime of happy, sun filled days, the skin is dotted with freckles, dark spots and patches. But not all spots are equal. There can be little flat dark freckles, larger bumpy areas the size of a raisin and even larger cafe au lait patches of melasma.
I have been exploring different lightening and brightening products on different dark spots on my face and limbs. As it turned out these formulations are not effective against raised or very dark areas of pigmentation. I had tried just about everything on a tan rough spot on my arm which just kept getting bigger. When I finally showed it to Dr Lefkovits, he diagnosed it as a seborrheic keratosis. This is a benign growth that comes with both age and sun exposure. They have a waxy, flakey appearance– not attractive, but not dangerous. And it was important to realize that no cream or gel could lighten it- it needed to be physically removed.
I had just one such spot about the size of pencil eraser. Dermatologists have four options to deal with them: 1) cryosurgery freezes the spot with liquid nitrogen. This may not work that well for thicker lesions and may permanently lighten the skin; 2) Cutterage scrapes the skin with a sharp loop that literally scrapes off the loosely attached spot; 3) electrodissication burns off the area with electric needle. This forms a scab that can take a bit of time to heal. 4) lasers can “blast away” the spot in seconds. This can be used effectively to deal with thick or numerous seborrheic keratoses, especially on the chest and back.
Out, Out Dark Spot
Dr Lefkovits choose a combination of cutterage ad electodissication. First he injected the area with anesthetic, then used a sharp loop to scrape off the spot. I didn’t realize that he had scraped so deeply until I saw a few drops of blood. He then cleaned up the edes with the electric needle. He topped the spot with a dollop Aquaphor and a bandaid. A few says later my arm developed a purpleish bruise, a sign that real work had been done in the area. I was very glad for the anesthetic. I am keeping the area covered with Bacitracin and a bandaid. I actually used a bigger bandaid because I am tired of people looking at my arm and asking ” what happened?”. A month later, the once scaley spot is fading into a flat flesh toned surface.
Take-Away Lesson for Brown Spots
My point and I do have one, is that there are many types of brown spots. Before spending money on lightening or brightening products, get a skin check to make certain that the spots are a cosmetic and not a health problem. Then you can choose the right tool to erase them.