Q. Brown spots – a cosmetic concern or a medical concern?
A. Brown spots describe many different types of lesions that can appear on the skin. Thankfully, most are benign (not cancerous), but our job as dermatologists is to differentiate between cancerous spots and spots that will not hurt you. We do this using many techniques, including dermoscopy, which is a magnification tool with specialized light that allows us to view pigment, vessels, and architecture of the lesions. When the brown spots are concerning, we are able to biopsy them, which samples the spot to tell us if it is cancerous or not. There are many ways to remove these spots, whether they are benign or cancerous. For benign spots there are cosmetic procedures that either remove or lighten the skin to reveal younger, healthier skin. If you have a brown spot you are concerned about, we would be happy to evaluate it!