The skin is the largest organ of the body that not only has the capacity to house one of our most complex senses such as touch, but it is also the site of expression of local and systemic diseases.
Over the years, the skin has been the object of study to develop innovative treatments in order to maintain its vitality, health and beauty.
Lesions of different colors and sizes known as stainswhich can cause discomfort such as pain or itching and can also alert us that there are generalized diseases in our body that must be treated.
What do the spots on the skin mean?
The spots on the skinalso known as macules, are circumscribed flattened lesions on the skin that generate changes in its pigment or color, they can be darker (called hyperchromic) or lighter (hypochromic) than the surrounding healthy skin.
The change in color can be associated with itching, irritation and the appearance of scales, and can appear suddenly or progressively. In this article we will describe six types of spots on the skin and its meaning.
1. Café-au-lait spots in newborns
They are brown moles, coffee-with-milk color, well-defined with irregular borders, completely asymptomatic, which can be distributed throughout the newborn’s skin. They can measure from a few millimeters to more than 20 centimeters.
If they occur in small numbers they are completely harmless and usually disappear without treatment over the years, but if more than 5 or 6 occur they may be an expression of a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis (which causes the growth of neurological tumors); Therefore, it is important that the newborn is evaluated by a pediatrician to start treatment for the underlying disease.
2. Dark spots on the face
Its scientific name is chloasma or melasma, which in some countries are known as “pregnant mask or cloth”. Are stains brown, dark, that appear on the forehead, nose, chin, lips and cheeks of pregnant women due to changes in the levels of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen and are usually exacerbated by exposure to the sun.
They do not hurt or itch, but they are aesthetically annoying and usually disappear when the woman gives birth. You can see more information about lip stains.
As they are the product of hormonal changes, they can also be seen in women who take birth control pills and during menopause. Some stains they persist over time and require specific dermatological treatments.
The use of sunscreen is recommended before its appearance, even used after its appearance to prevent the stain gets darker. Once the pregnancy is over, the dermatologist can perform treatment based on lightening creams, peels and laser treatment.
3. Stains on the face in the form of butterfly wings
These stains They are known as malar rash. They are generally related to autoimmune diseases, especially Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. It appears as a reddened plaque at the level of both cheeks and nose of the person when exposed to the sun, it is accompanied by burning sensation and can sometimes itch.
As malar rash is the expression of a systemic cause, treatment should be indicated by an internist or rheumatologist to control the disease that produces it, generally using steroids.
4. Dark spots in the folds of the body
These stains It is known as acanthosis nigricans and appears in the folds of the neck, armpits, breast folds and groin. It is caused by hyperpigmentation seen in people with peripheral insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and diabetes mellitus.
It must be indicated by the internist or endocrinologist, who controls the underlying disease, improving insulin and blood glucose levels. In turn, the dermatologist may indicate lightening creams to improve the lesions.
5. Light spots on the body that do not itch
It is called Pityriasis alba, when they present desquamation and are distributed in patches on the face, trunk and extremities. They usually occur in children and adolescents, after sun exposure.
Until now the exact cause of its origin is not known, but some hypotheses indicate that it is due to the coexistence of some germs, the use of aggressive substances for the skin, sun exposure and atopic dermatitis (or skin allergy).
It is based on moisturizing creams, emollient and anti-allergic substances indicated by the dermatologist.
6. Light spots on the body that itch
There are many causes of this type of stains, but Pityriasis versicolor is the most common. It is caused by a fungus and usually manifests as discolored, drop-shaped areas on a person’s chest and arms.
The dermatologist must make a differential diagnosis between ringworm of the skin, seborrheic dermatitis, lichen planus and vitiligo.
The dermatologist must examine the lesions, take samples and view them under the microscope, then indicate treatment with local antifungals.