Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (2022)


"Dark or black spots on skin are usually harmless and merely a sign ofexcessive exposure to the sun or increased pigmentation. Black skinspots or dots can also be caused by moles. However, lesscommon skin conditions that may manifest as dark or black skin spots include melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Except for the latter, theseharmless skin discolorations often do not pose any danger to one’shealth but may need treatment in order to improve one’sappearance. If you see any changes in the spot, mole bump or general skin appearance, be sure to see a dermatologist. This guide will help you learn about the different causes and treatment options to get rid of the spots. "

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (1)Causes of Black Spots on Skin Include Moles (top), Seborrhoic Keratosis (bottom left, due to aging), and Nummular Eczema (bottom right, unknown cause).

When to See The Doctor

  • Shape is Asymmetrical where if you folded the mole in half one side is different than the other
  • Borders are ragged, irregular or blurred
  • Variety of colors within the mole
  • Mole larger in size than a pencil eraser
  • Changes in mole size or additional growth in and around the mole.
  • Scaliness, oozing or bleeding in the mole or in the skin that surrounds the spot or mole
  • Pain
  • Constant itching in spot or mole area.
  • Tender skin where spot is located.
  • General changes in mole appearance.

Black Spots on Skin Causes

Dark brown to brown-blackspots are commonly associated withaging and excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Theseare common in people over the age of 40 and may occur in all races,although they are more pronounced among fair-skinned people.

Hyper pigmentation or overproduction of dark skin pigments calledmelanin can cause black spots to appear. This may occur after someinflammation such as acne heals, or after improper shaving. Nevi ormoles at times may also appear black and may be either flat orraised.

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (2)TineaVersacolor (also called sun spots) is the result of a skin yeast infection. The color is caused by a chemical reaction in the fungus that blocks natural skin pigment. The problem is harmless if your immune system is functioning normally. It is not cancerous. Treatment involves curing the infection with a product such as Naturasil TineaVersicolor. The condition is not contagious and may require multiple treatments.

Antibiotics and otherdrugs like tetracycline, sulfonamides, amiodarone, phenothiazine, andphenytoin commonly cause such spots on the skin.

Black Skin Moles

Every adult has moles. They are eithercongenital (present at birth) or acquired, which means that theyappeared after a person is born or If an individual has more than 50moles they are considered to be at higher risk for a skin melanoma(skin cancer). A mole can be black, red, tan, pink or without color.They are round and slightly raised or flat.

Melanoma (Skin Cancer)

An important cause of black spot on the skin is melanoma, the mostdangerous type of skin cancer.It is caused by abnormal changes in themelanocytes, or cells which produce the skin pigment called melanin. Ifyou see any skin condition such as a mole changing in shape, color (orhas multiple colors in one mole), size, and has an irregular border, oris bleeding, be sure to bring it to the attention of a Doctor. Commonpractice is for the Dermatologist to remove the mole so that it can besent to a lab for testing. If a melanoma, and if caught early, anOncologist will remove the skin area surrounding the mole until theyare sure that the cancer has been completely removed. More advancedcases will require additional treatment.

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (3)Pictures of Black Skin Spots that are a Melanoma. Have any mole that changes in appearance or size or that look different than other skin spots or bumps checked by a Dermatologist.
Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Moles are not treated unless they posea medical risk, if they rub against clothing or for cosmetic reasons.If you have 100 or more moles be extra careful and consult adermatologist, particularly if you have a family history of familialatypical multiple-mole melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome.

(Video) Dark Spots on your Skin | Hormones, Vitamin D, Melasma - Dr. Aruna Prasad

Signs of Skin Melanoma

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (4)Small black or brown spots on skin that are signs of melanoma (cancer)

Black Spot on Mole

If you see a black spot on mole it may or may not be a problem. Moles are very difficult to diagnose. A skilled dermatologist can both track four factors listed above that indicate that a biopsy is needed. If a dermatologist sees no change along with no other signs, then it may be prudent to keep an eye on the mole. On the other hand, a mole with a black spot that shows other colors, and that is changing would warrant a biopsy.

All of the examples below of a black spot on mole shown below are malignant and require removal by a dermatologist.

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (5)Example of a Black Spot On Mole That Requires A Biopsy and Possible Removal by a Dermatologist

To learn if black spots on a mole are cancerous and if you need to treat them, they should be reviewed as part of an annual mole check with a dermatologist.

Liver Spots (Lentigines)

Liver spots (also called solar lentigines, seborrheic keratosis, freckles, sun damage spots or age spots) look like small spots, lesions or areas on the skin. They are caused by skin areas prone to excessive sun exposure such as the arms, shoulders, hands and face. Liver spots are seen in people of all ages but are more common in people who have a fair skin complexion and when age 50 or older.


  • Flat
  • Brown to tan spots
  • Caused by exposure to the sun
  • Appear on exposed skin areas to the sun
  • Not medically necessary to be removed

Seborrheic Keratoses:

(Video) What causes black & brown skin lesions? - Dr. Rasya Dixit

  • Tan to brown spots
  • When touched feel greasy
  • Smart as small spots that are flat and then scale if lightly scraped with a finger nail
  • Transform into a brown-black spots from flesh colored spots
  • Occur all over the body
  • Can become uneven, thick and grow in size
  • Can develop several to multiple spots
  • Not medically necessary to be removed

The areas of discoloration or "sun spots" form when the skin reacts to exposure to ultraviolet light by increasing the proliferation of color cells in the skin (called melanocytes). The melanocytes become lighter in color as we get older (exception is a disorder called dysplatic or atypical nevus syndrome which results in the production of changing or new moles which could become malignant.)

These spots are sometimes confused with melanoma spots, but if not malignant they do not require treatment. Liver spots have sharp borders and should be all one color.

How To Get Rid Of Sun or Liver Spots

Like other forms of dark skin pigmentation, they can be lightened for cosmetic reasons with skin-bleaching remedies that contain the ingredient hydroquinone such as the brandPorcelanaorEsoterica. Also consider products with alpha-hydroxy acids and vitamin A acid derivatives. Individuals can also have them removed for purposes of improving skin appearance.

In a dermatologist office treatments can include liguid nitrogen spray (cryo-surgery) or Intense Pulse Light IPL) or lasers. Individuals with darker skin complexion may have moles scraped off (called curettage or dessication).

See a Doctor to differentiate between the brown or black spots associated with liver spots to those that are melanomas which tend to have shades of blue, white and red.

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (6)Liver Sports on Face

Melasma (melanogenisis)

Melasma results in brown to gray skin spots. Most people see the spots on sun exposed areas such as the face, followed by the upper lip, chin, forehead, cheeks and upper portion of the nose. The condition is more common in women. In some people hormones trigger the condition.

If you are prone to Melasma the best approach is to avoid the sun or wear sun screen and protective clothing. In individuals prone to Melasma, using only sunscreen may not provide all of the protection needed.

One of the most common treatments for melasma is sun protection. This means wearing sunscreen every day and reapplying the sunscreen every 2 hours. Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside. Sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need.

The dark skin spots caused by Melasma can fade on their own as underlying triggers such as hormones decline. Spots can be treated with creams that contain Hydroquinone such as Porcelana, medications that contain corticosterioid, tretinoin, kojic acid or azelaic acid.

Dermatologists can remove Melasma spots with procedures such as:

  • Light procedures
  • Laser treatment
  • Dermabrasion
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical Peel

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (7)Dark Skin Spots Caused by Melasma

(Video) How To Get Rid Of Dark Spots On Your Body || Natural Remedies

Less Common Causes of Black Skin Spots

Other less common conditions that cancause dark brown to black spotsinclude:

  • Riehl melanosis: brown pigment condition on the neck and face
  • Poikiloderma of Civattea: dry and scaly patches on the neck andface
  • Erythromelanosisfollicularis
  • Lineafusca: long skin markings


Black spots on skin that are caused by sun exposure and related toaging can easily be identified even without laboratory tests. Othertypes of non-cancerous dark discolorations in the skin may also beidentified by their history and physical features. To rule out anydisease that may be related to skin changes, blood tests may be done.

To diagnose skin cancer, a skin biopsy needs to be done forconfirmation. Other features like a history of abnormal changes insize, color, and texture of the lesion, bleeding, or a sore that doesnot heal give clue to the diagnosis.

Black Spots on Skin, Face and Body: Causes and Treatment (8)Black spots on skin can be caused by moles. The are growths that may appear during childhood or later. Most people have 15 to 20. It is caused by genetics and are harmless. If the mole changes in color and appearance be sure to have it checked by a dermatologist. Black skin spots caused by moles can be removed for cosmetic reasons. Source: American Academy of Dermatology


Dark brown, black spots on skin or tiny dots usually do not haveaccompanying symptoms if they are related to changes in aging.Hyperpigmentation due to inflammation, drug intake, or hormonal changesmay be accompanied by symptoms related to the cause.

If black spots appear asymmetrical and rapidly change in size, shape,and color, they may be symptomatic of melanoma. These spots may bleed,and the borders may become irregular.


To reduce the appearance of dark or black spots on skin,dermatologistsrecommend using sunscreen. Black spots may be lightened by usingover-the-counter bleaching creams and lotions such as elure.Lightening cosmetics mayalso be used to cover black spots such as ClinqueDark Sport Corrector or Pro-Xfrom Oil of Olay. One is further advised to use moreprotective coverings like hats, long sleeves, or umbrellas to avoid notonly sunburn or skin aging, but skin cancer as well.

For abnormal skin changes that are suspicious, one should seekimmediate diagnosis and medical treatment. Skin cancer involvessurgical treatment to remove the tumor, and depending on the stage ofthe disease, may also include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, andimmunotherapy.

Dermatologists may also prescribe creams that contain hydroquinone which are used to bleach darkened skin. Severe cases may also be treated with tretinoin and cortisone cream. These treatments may need a few months to show improvements.

Other options include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser treatment, or other cosmetic procedures.

(Video) Darkened Skin Spots: 3 Causes of Dark Spots on Skin – Dr.Berg


Causes of Brown or Black Spots on Skinby:SunSmart


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

American Cancer Society: Skin Cancer Image Gallery

Home Remedies for Black Spots on Your Face

Skin Cancer: How to Sport The Bad Spots

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology(Nummular Eczema)


What causes black spots on face and body? ›

Age spots are caused by overactive pigment cells. Ultraviolet (UV) light speeds up the production of melanin, a natural pigment that gives skin its color. On skin that has had years of sun exposure, age spots appear when melanin becomes clumped or is produced in high concentrations.

What is the best treatment for dark spots on face? ›

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the following treatments for dark spots in skin of color:
  • 2% hydroquinone.
  • azelaic acid.
  • glycolic acid.
  • kojic acid.
  • retinoids, such as retinol, tretinoin, adapalene gel, or tazarotene.
  • vitamin C.

How can I remove my dark spot? ›

How to remove dark spots
  1. Laser treatment. Different types of lasers are available. ...
  2. Microdermabrasion. During microdermabrasion, a dermatologist uses a special device that has an abrasive surface to remove the outer layer of the skin. ...
  3. Chemical peels. ...
  4. Cryotherapy. ...
  5. Prescription skin-lightening cream.
Sep 9, 2020

Why am I getting black spots all over my body? ›

They are often the result of sun exposure, but they can be caused by other things, too. Skin conditions, pregnancy and certain medications or medical conditions may cause dark spots. People who have fair skin, light hair, and who have had serious or multiple sunburns are most at risk of developing dark spots.

What food causes dark spots on skin? ›

Citrus products. Eating an orange or lemon itself doesn't necessarily cause melasma, but applying citrus products, like a face wash, to your skin and then exposing it to the sun can cause a toxic reaction called berloque dermatitis, leading to very pronounced hyperpigmentation, Mayoral says.

Is Vitamin C good for dark spots? ›

Topical vitamin C is a science-backed, dermatologist-favorite ingredient that may help slow early skin aging, prevent sun damage, and improve the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and acne.

Which is best dark spot removal cream? ›

Best Dark Spots Removal Creams For Body
  • Fabindia Vitamin E Cream De-Pigmentation. ...
  • Khadi Omorose Anti-Blemish Cream. ...
  • VLCC Almond Honey: Deep Nourishing & Skin Brightening Body Lotion. ...
  • Garnier Light Complete Moisturising Serum-In-Lotion. ...
  • Nivea Whitening Even Tone Body Lotion.
Mar 23, 2021

Which oil is best for removing dark spots? ›

Geranium oil

“Geranium oil is very effective in lightening scars, blemishes, and dark spots”, suggests Dr Dadu. It helps to heal damaged skin as a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Can lemon remove dark spots? ›

Lemon is loaded with Vitamin C, which can help in lightening dark spots on the skin. You can try spot treatment and rub lemon juice on the affected area for a few seconds. Once dry, rinse the area with cool water. Repeat this process every day to fade the spots.

Can turmeric remove dark spots? ›

Turmeric works amazingly well to treat dark spots and patches. Combined with other potent skin lightening ingredients, it can work really fast to fade acne scars and dark spots. Interestingly, an extract from turmeric, called tetrahydrocurcumin, is now a main ingredient in dark spot clearing creams.

Does aloe vera remove dark spots? ›

Aloe vera has been found to have many health benefits for the skin, from helping to heal wounds to moisturizing. There's a small amount of scientific evidence suggesting that applying aloe vera to your skin may help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmented areas, though it won't completely get rid of these darker spots.

What skin disease has black spots? ›

What is acanthosis nigricans? This skin disorder results in light-brown-to-black spots. It often happens to otherwise healthy people, but in some cases, it may be a sign of an underlying condition. The markings look like a spot or stain that you might think you can scrub off.

Are black spots permanent? ›

A spot that is a few shades darker than your natural skin color will usually fade within 6 to 12 months. If the color lies deep in your skin, however, fading can take years. Discoloration that lies deep in the skin is often slate blue to gray in color.

What disease causes black spots on skin? ›

What is acanthosis nigricans? This skin disorder results in light-brown-to-black spots. It often happens to otherwise healthy people, but in some cases, it may be a sign of an underlying condition. The markings look like a spot or stain that you might think you can scrub off.

What melasma looks like? ›

Melasma is a common skin disorder. Loosely translated, the word means “black spot.” If you have melasma you're probably experiencing light brown, dark brown and/or blue-gray patches on your skin. They can appear as flat patches or freckle-like spots.

What do cancerous sun spots look like? ›

The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred. The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue. The spot is larger than ¼ inch across – about the size of a pencil eraser – although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.


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