Pigmented lesions are usually harmless, and nearly all adults have at least a couple of them on their skin. These skin spots are caused by melanocyte cells in the skin. While some are born with pigmented lesions, others develop them over time due to changing hormones, aging, or exposure to the sun.
Common types of pigmented lesions include:
- Age Spots: Small, flat, dark areas of the skin that show up on areas that are commonly exposed to the sun.
- Nevi/Moles: Common pigmented skin lesions that develop throughout adulthood.
- Melasma: A condition that causes brown patches to appear on the face.
- Photodamage: Changes in the skin such as wrinkles, roughness, pigmentation changes, or freckles due to prolonged exposure to the sun.
Although rare, some pigmented lesions may develop into different forms of skin cancer. This is why it is very important to monitor your lesions closely, as well as to visit your dermatologist for annual skin checks. If either you or your dermatologist notice a change in the colour, diameter, size, or growth of pigmented lesions, a biopsy may be needed to determine if skin cancer is present.
In cases where a pigmented lesion has developed into skin cancer, surgery may be needed. The exact surgery that is used will be dependent on the type and extent of the cancer. Your dermatologist will work with you to determine the best course of action.
Bothersome noncancerous lesions can be improved with laser therapy or other cosmetic dermatology treatments. Mole removal may be performed, as well as facial resurfacing. The treatment that is best for you will depend on your individual lesion.
Healthy individuals who are unhappy with the look or feel of pigmented lesions, or those who have noticed changes to their lesions over time can often benefit from treatment. If you have noticed any change in the shape, size, colour, or overall appearance of any of your lesions, be sure to visit a dermatologist as soon as possible for a professional assessment. The best way to determine which treatment option is right for you is to schedule a consultation appointment with one of our skilled dermatologists. Give our office a call today to get started!