What Causes Brown Spots on Legs?


Quick Answer

Brown spots are caused by an excessive production of melanin due to aging, sun or ultraviolet light exposure, as stated by Healthline. UV light exposure leads to the generation of melanin, according to Mayo Clinic. Melanin creates a tanned area that protects deeper layers of skin from the UV light.

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Full Answer

Melanin is a pigment in the outermost layer of skin that gives skin its color. After years of sun exposure, melanin becomes clumped into spots due to being produced in high concentrations, according to Mayo Clinic. Chronic use of tanning beds results in the same outcome.

Certain individuals are more likely to develop brown spots than others, states Mayo Clinic and Healthline. People with fair skin and more frequent or intense sun exposure are at greater risk. People over age 40 and those with a history of tanning bed use are also more likely to develop brown spots.

Avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and using sunscreen both aid in prevention, according to Mayo Clinic and Healthline. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours. Protective clothing also reduces the chances of getting brown spots. Hats, long sleeves and special UV-blocking clothes are helpful.

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