Category Archives: Skin Aging

Highly Effective Treatments for Brown Spots


Brown spots are a common part of aging. Over time, however, they can negatively impact the appearance of one’s skin. At the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery, we offer several options for eliminating or diminishing brown spots and keeping skin looking youthful and clear.

What are brown spots?

The development of brown spots can depend on several factors, including daily exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), injury to the skin, previous sun damage, one’s skin type and genetics. Brown spots usually start to appear in the late 20s, but depending on the patient, they can show up earlier or later on in life.

Brown spots are also known as age or liver spots, and they are flat, painless areas that are light brown to black in color. They vary in size, but are larger than freckles and tend to appear on the parts of the body that are most often exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, arms and shoulders.

What are effective treatments for brown spot?

We offer numerous effective treatments for reducing the appearance of skin discoloration and promoting a more uniform complexion. These treatments include laser both resurfacing and non-resurfacing, chemical peels as well as bleaching.

Other procedures that are performed at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery for the treatment of brown spots include liquid nitrogen and microdermabrasion. After the patient’s provider has diagnosed the patient with brown spots following an examination of the skin area in question, they can together determine the best course of treatment.

Because brown spots are not medically dangerous, removing them is a cosmetic procedure with the main goal of creating aesthetically pleasing results. Deciding which procedure will be best suited for addressing brown spots and attaining the patient’s desired results depends on each person’s unique skin condition and concerns.

It’s never too late to get rid of unsightly brown spots and attain clear, blemish-free skin. Those beginning to see the first signs of brown spots can also consult with our cosmetic providers regarding skincare treatments and regimens that can preemptively prevent the development of more brown spots.

If you are interested in learning more about the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery’s various treatments for brown spots call the cosmetic team providers at 503-297-3440 for a complimentary consultation.

The Mask of Pregnancy — Melasma

Melasma is a common skin problem characterized by brown to grey-brown patches on the face and occasionally the forearms. The condition is far more common in women and melasma often accompanies pregnancy or other hormonal changes. As a result, it is often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy.”


Who gets melasma?

Melasma is mostly an issue for women, as only 10% of those diagnosed are men. It tends to affect people with darker skin tones and there seems to be a genetic component as well.


What causes melasma?

As with other skin conditions such as rosacea, there isn’t a direct cause/effect relationship with melasma. The condition is likely the result of overproduction of pigment by melanocytes.  People with darker skin tones are more susceptible to melasma because they naturally have more melanocytes in their skin.

There are certain triggers for melasma:

  • Hormonal changes — Pregnant women often get melasma due to the fluctuations in their hormones. Birth control pills and hormone replacement medicines can also trigger melasma.
  • Sun exposure — Ultraviolet light from the sun triggers melanocytes in the exposed skin to produce pigment as a safety mechanism of sorts. This is why human skin tans.  Even melasma patches that have faded can recur when exposed to ultraviolet light.
  • Cosmetics — Certain cosmetics can worsen melasma if they irritate the skin.

Signs of melasma

Melasma doesn’t cause any internal symptoms, irritation, or pain; its effect is purely visual and results in brown or grey-brown patches on the skin’s surface.

Areas most often affected by melasma:

  • Cheeks
  • Forehead
  • Upper lip
  • Chin
  • Bridge of the nose
  • Forearms and neck (less common)


Melasma can fade on its own, especially if the patient protects their skin from sun exposure. Because triggers (such as hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy) resolve themselves after delivery pregnancy related melasma can resolve or significantly improve naturally.

Women may choose to continue birth control pills even when it is playing a role in their melasma.  In this case medical and cosmetic treatment of their condition will be necessary.

We have various treatment options available at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery to treat melasma.

  • Hydroquinone — We use prescription-strength hydroquinone usually as a first option. When applied to the darkened areas, it decreases pigmentation in the skin.


  • Tretinoin and corticosteroids — Beyond hydroquinone, these are the next two steps in enhance skin lightening. Sometimes we will use a cream that contains all three topical medications.


  • Other topical medicines — Azelaic acid and kojic acid also lighten the skin.


  • Procedures — chemical peels, microneedling, or laser treatments in appropriate patients.


If you’re tired of your brown patches, call us at 503-297-3440 and let’s start addressing your melasma.


How to Treat Brown Spots

For those dealing with unwanted skin discoloration, confidence and self-esteem can become a daily struggle.  Often manifesting in the form of brown spots and patches, skin discoloration can affect patients both physically and emotionally.  Thankfully, however, patients today are choosing to do something about it.  Dr. Beata Rydzik of Portland’s Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery recently sat down to discuss how more and more patients are turning to cosmetic dermatology as a way to help treat troublesome brown spots.

“As one of today’s most common skin complaints, brown spots can serve as a blemish to an otherwise perfect complexion,” Dr. Rydzik explains.  “While they typically don’t pose a medical threat, brown spots can take a toll on patients in other ways, often becoming a source of embarrassment.”

Detailing causes of the condition, Dr. Rydzik offered this: “A common result of the aging process, brown spots are most often caused by years of overexposure to the sun.  Manifesting as flat, painless areas, brown spots can also occur as a result of injury or trauma, in a condition known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”

Dr. Rydzik, who specializes in many of today’s top general and cosmetic dermatologic procedures, went on to describe a few of the condition’s most effective treatment modalities.  “While brown spots can certainly be discouraging, modern cosmetic dermatology now offers a host of minimally-invasive solutions for reducing the appearance of skin discoloration and promoting a more uniform complexion,” Dr. Rydzik explains.  “Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing can all be effectively used to reduce the appearance of spots.  Liquid nitrogen and skin bleaching may also be used, depending on the patient’s unique medical needs.”

Asked to comment on the growing popularity of cosmetic dermatology, Dr. Rydzik concluded with this:  “Where in the past, many patients had no choice but to accept brown spots, that is simply no longer the case today.  With several highly-effective treatments available, we encourage anyone dealing with skin discoloration to contact us and learn more about their treatment options.”

If you’re interested in treating your brown spots, call us at 503-297-3440 and let’s talk about your options.


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