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Dark spots on the legs can develop for many reasons. Spots can be as harmless as freckles or a sign or symptom of a serious disease. If you have any concerns about dark spots that develop on your legs or other parts of your body, it’s best to consult with your family physician or a dermatologist.
Age spots, also known as liver spots or solar lentigo, usually appear after years of sun exposure. Health-Cares.net reports they’re most common in people older than 55 and can occur almost anywhere on the body, especially areas that have seen a lot of sun or suffered from sunburns 1. The spots are nothing but collections of skin pigment that have accumulated in the top layer of skin and can be removed in a number of ways, such as by laser treatment, freezing, acids or skin sanding.
Freckles are usually found on the face and arms, but they can appear on legs, too. These small brown spots are harmless and can be a product of genetics or sun exposure. They’re most common in fair-skinned people. The Cleveland Clinic notes that since freckles are almost always harmless, there’s no reason to treat them.
People with diabetes sometimes develop light brown or red scaly patches on the front of the legs. The Cleveland Clinic reports that this skin condition, known as diabetic dermopathy, is caused by changes in the small blood vessels of diabetics. These skin spots don’t hurt, blister or itch, and usually don’t require any medical treatment.
The Cleveland Clinic describes moles as growths on the skin that occur when skin cells grow in clusters, rather than being spread throughout the skin. The growths are usually black or brown, normally appear in the first 20 years of life and can develop anywhere on the skin. According to the Cleveland Clinic, most moles are benign and no cause for concern. However, if a mole changes over time, becomes asymmetrical, has a ragged border or variations in color, it’s time to see a dermatologist.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can occur anywhere on the body, but MayoClinic.com reports that in women, it most often appears on the lower legs 3. Melanoma can appear as a large brownish spot with darker speckles. Another sign of melanoma is a mole that bleeds or changes in color, size or feel. Melanoma can affect people of all skin tones. See a doctor if you have any signs of this disease.
- hanging legs image by Vladislav Gajic from Fotolia.com