What are the dark spots my hands and arms and what do I do to get rid of them? If you have them, how can you get rid of these dark patches or spots? Discover their causes, treatment or how to remove them in this post.
Where they appear
They often appear anywhere on your hands on arms including on the back of your hand, forearms, palms, etc. They can be small dots or bigger patches.
Find out the most likely reason why you have pigmentation problems in the skin of your arms including the palms.
1. Age or Liver Spots
The first and more common cause is age spots. According to Mayo Clinic, they age spots are “flat tan, brown or black spots and usually appear on the face, hands, shoulders, and arms.”
The underlying cause of age spots on hands and arms is the production of too much melanin which is highly contributed by the longer influence of the (UVR) sunlight. In fact, these are the key areas because they are frequently exposed to the sun.
It is therefore very true that age spots cause dark spots on hands and arms. Other factors that accelerate them is the constant use of tanning beds and lamps.
The causes of dark skin spots on arms or hands may be due to a number of reasons as you will see.
2. Melanoma or cancer spots on skin
Melanoma is a skin cancer caused by “unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation,)” [www.skincancer.org], thus enhancing mutations to occur. With mutations, serious cell multiplication results in the formation of malignant tumors that originate from melanocyte cells.
Dark spots on arms as a result of melanoma are usually black or brown. Even though, they may resemble the color of your skin, red, purple, pink, white or blue. It is also a deadly skin cancer if it is not attended to with great attention. In addition to that, melanoma should not be confused with moles although sometimes melanoma is associated with the moles whereby they may grow on the moles.
3. On arms after shaving
This is a common problem mostly in men who have growths of hairs on the sides and back of their arms. The main cause being poor hair removal and use of chemical creams in underarm shaving. Inflammation that occurs is accompanied by slight itching, forming very small ones on arms also known as pseudofolliculitis barbae that will eventually appear after shaving.
If you already have the black spots on arms after shaving, don’t be frustrated for you can remove them. One of the best things you have to do is regular exfoliation at least two times a week. Select the creams to remove them from your hands which have salicylic acid, lactic acid or retinol. You can also get a super scrub such as Apricot Scrub if you have a tough skin.
4. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
“Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation is an acquired condition in which excess melanin deposition occurs at sites of skin inflammation or injury”. [barefacedtruth.com]. This means that dark spots on arms due to PIH comes after there is increased melanocyte cell activity due to damage to the epidermis.
As a form of injury to the skin burns whether chemical or heat, tend to irritate the skin upon melanocyte cells are forced so that more melanin is released as a result. As healing starts a scar-like effect is left on the surface which turns into a black spot.
Apart from burns, there are other ways through which injury to the skin on your arms may occur. For instance, injury and scratches from sharp objects such as needles pointed tools and pricks.
Thirdly, pimples such as those from acne may be responsible.
5. Acne scars
What causes dark spots on arms and shoulders? Acne on the hands can normally be presented as small papules, or bumps with the pus-like material. When from acne, they form after acne pimples, or blackheads scars have healed.
6. Certain medications
There are certain medications which when taken they can trigger their appearance on arms, shoulders, neck and other body parts. They include the pills and hormones used in controlling pregnancy such as Estrogen. Some medicines will lead to sudden appearance especially if it is due to their side effects on certain individuals. Examples of the medicines are anti-epileptic drug Phenytoin, tranquilizers Phenothiazines and antibiotics e.g. Tetracyclines.
7. Hypersensitivity reactions
Dr. Powlin Manuel notes that some other medicines may lead to skin reactions and hypersensitivity in response to certain medicines such as Phenytoin, Barbiturates, and Penicillin. Moreover, erythema multiforme can be responsible for dark spots on hand palms.
This problem, especially on forearms may be due to hyperkeratosis! Basically, this genetic skin disorder cause “build-up of hardened dead skin cells that cover the follicle opening.” [katleverette.com]. this condition is normally referred to as Keratosis Pilaris.
Characterized by ‘non-inflammatory keratin plugs’, hyperkeratosis is known for permanent scarring whose large and red or dark blemishes take long to heal. Other key affected areas are the back, buttocks, shoulders, back of arms and upper legs.
How to get rid them – Treatments
Having dark spot all over your hands is a detesting experience you can think of. Learning how to get rid of these black spots on your hands is worthwhile as it will hand you the freedom to choose what to wear without restrictions. For treatment, apart from the professional methods, creams and other over the counter products are useful in lightening the black spots.
One of treatment is microdermabrasion. This treatment is more effective in removing mild forms of acne scars or dark marks from acne.
Now, if you opt for microdermabrasion at home you have to acquire hand lotions, serums, gels and cream products that have exfoliating qualities i.e. ability to initiate manual peeling. These include glycolic creams and retinol creams e.g. Zenmed Renewing, PMD Personal Microderm, Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion and Peel, Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-texturing microdermabrasion, etc.
Best removal creams for hands & arms
The other option is the application of creams on the affected areas of your arm skin. There are different categories creams i.e.
Bleaching creams and lotions
This group of creams has the ability to exfoliate, fade away or prevent dark spots from developing to maturity. They include hydroquinone reams that are available over the counter. If you have to go for them pick on those with lower concentrations such as tretinoin and 3% hydroquinone.
Other bleaching creams product that will work well are those with Retin A. however, you can remove age spots on hands quickly if you start using them as soon as the brown spots begin to appear.
Lightening or correcting creams
Secondly, should you decide to reduce the appearance of this marks on arms, then lightening creams is your choice? Just like bleaching creams, lightening creams should have carcinogenic properties. They include glycolic and salicylic acid which act by removing top layer together with skin age spots that have shown up on the age spots.
Furthermore, these creams can also smooth, moisturize and rejuvenate the skin and mask the appearance of age spots, acne marks on arms and legs on the go. A few which you may start with are listed below.
- Green Leaf Pure Aloe Vera Skin Gel,
- Even Better Dark Spot Correcting Hand Cream,
- Lotus Herbal White Glow hand and body lotion,
On hands and legs
Besides the above causes, you can have them on hands and legs from bites or stings from insects and other small animals. For instance, bites from mosquitoes inject anticoagulant substances, leaving little pores on the surface of the skin in arms and legs. More often they become itchy and that is when inflammation starts.
If you want to get marks from bites avoid scratching because it worsens. Instead, use a cleanser such as Poison Ivy Soap which is gentle on the skin. To prevent further inflammation and relieve pain use Oak or Sumac. Other anti-inflammatory creams you may include are Benadryl Itching Stopping Gel, Calamine or Cortisone Hydrocortisone cream.
The other possible ways that lead to small dark spots on hands and legs is shaving, post inflammatory pigmentation through injury, acne scars, and Keratosis Pilaris.
While at home there are more opportunities you would create and take good care of your hands with these home remedies. However, take note of these procedures to be fruitful in lightening or removing these marks, spot or marks you should be consistent.
Almond, Milk & Honey
This simple mixture can make a good scrub to help you to deal with dark spots on the back of your hands.
- You need to grind some almonds and then add a teaspoonful of honey.
- Add some milk to form a paste.
- Ensure that your hands are clean and dry.
- Apply a little layer on the back of the hand while doing massage to help rub in and create peeling effect.
- After 15 minutes rinse and thereafter apply your favorite moisturizer.
Sandalwood powder has effective ingredients in confronting dark patches or age spots on hands. It will also be acting as an antibacterial and anti-aging factor if you begin using it in good time to promote collagen growths for young, good-looking skin. Moreover, it is magic in lightening and reducing the appearance of dark spots in general.
- Take sandalwood on a baby spoon and mix it with a few drops of rosewater and lemon.
- Beat the mixture lightly and then rub it directly onto the hand (for at least 3mins); put more focus on the affected area.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- If you think you need to move out in the sun then protect yourself with an (SPF30) sunscreen.
Reference and Quoted Sources