What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
How to Treat Hyperpigmentation Spots on Arms & Legs
Age spots, liver spots and freckles are just some of the names given to the areas on your arms and legs that have increased levels of melanin, or pigment 1. Most types of hyperpigmentation do not require treatment; unless the spots are a sign of melanoma (skin cancer), they do not interfere with your health. Many people do not like the way their age spots look and use topical preparations to hide the imperfections. More invasive treatments are also available to treat hyperpigmentation of your extremities.
Apply a hydroquinone-based bleaching cream to the hyperpigmented spots on your arms or legs. Over-the-counter and prescription-strength hydroquinone creams range from 2 to 4 percent concentration; the chemical causes the discoloration on your limbs to fade. Your doctor will tell you how often to use the topical medication; hyrdoquinone may cause skin irritation in some people according to University of British Columbia Division of Dermatology researchers.
How to Use Retin-A 0.05
Apply topical retinoids to treat severe discolorations on your arms and legs. Retinoids reduce the concentration of melanin in the hyperpigmented area of your skin, but in some people can lead to further irritation, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Many people do not see results for at least three months when using 0.05 to 0.1 percent ointments.
Wear sunscreen, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms and legs from sun exposure while you are using retinoids or bleaching agents. Your skin can become more sensitive to sunlight, hampering the effects of the medications.
Dark spots on your arms or legs that are a cosmetic concern may be covered with makeup in the event that your clothing cannot hide the discoloration. Ask your doctor about advanced technologies used to remove hyperpigmentation on your arms or legs. The National Institutes of Health reports that cryosurgery--freezing the darkened spots with liquid nitrogen--and laser treatments can help lighten the discolored patches.Check with your insurance company about coverage for these treatments; because the condition does not pose a health threat, treatment may be considered elective and not be eligible for medical claims.
How to Use Retin-A 0.05
Can You Restore the Pigment to White Spots on the Skin?
Vitamin E for Skin Discoloration
Skin Bleach for Scars
Dark Pigmentation in the Elbows, Ankles and Inner Thigh
How to Use Selsun Blue for Sunspots
How to Reduce Black Spots on the Face
Hyperpigmentation While on Birth Control
Skin Discoloration on the Forehead
How to Get Rid of Dark Circles Around the Mouth
- MedlinePlus: Liver spots
- Skin Therapy Letter: Topical Agents Used in the Management of Hyperpigmentation
- American Academy of Dermatology. Variety of Options Available to Treat Pigmentation Problems. February 5, 2013. https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/variety-of-options-available-to-treat-pigmentation-problems
- Tomecki J, Woodhouse G. Common Benign Growths. Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education. http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/dermatology/common-benign-growths/
- Scarcella G, Dethlefsen MW, Nielsen MCE. Treatment of solar lentigines using a combination of picosecond laser and biophotonic treatment. Clin Case Rep. 2018;6(9):1868-1870. doi:10.1002/ccr3.1749
- Scherer D, Kumar R. Genetics of pigmentation in skin cancer--a review. Mutat Res. 2010;705(2):141-53. doi:10.1016/j.mrrev.2010.06.002
- Bastiaens M, Hoefnagel J, Westendorp R, Vermeer BJ, Bouwes bavinck JN. Solar lentigines are strongly related to sun exposure in contrast to ephelides. Pigment Cell Res. 2004;17(3):225-9. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0749.2004.00131.x
- Davis EC, Callender VD. Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment options in skin of color. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(7):20-31.
- George AO, Shittu OB, Enwerem E, Wachtel M, Kuti O. The incidence of lower mid-trunk hyperpigmentation (linea nigra) is affected by sex hormone levels. J Natl Med Assoc. 2005;97(5):685-8.
- Al-saif FM, Baqays AA, Alsaif HF, Alhumidi AA. Erythromelanosis follicularis faciei et colli with reticulated hyperpigmentation of the extremities. Clin Case Rep. 2017;5(10):1576-1579. doi:10.1002/ccr3.1095
- Dereure O. Drug-induced skin pigmentation. Epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2001;2(4):253-62. doi:10.2165/00128071-200102040-00006
- Ammoury A, Michaud S, Paul C, et al. Photodistribution of blue-gray hyperpigmentation after amiodarone treatment: molecular characterization of amiodarone in the skin. Arch Dermatol. 2008;144(1):92-6. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2007.25
- Jain A, Gupta N. Multifocal Bullous Fixed Drug Erruption Due To Phenytoin: A Lesson Learned! J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(12):OD04-5. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/15464.6908
- Mccarty M, Rosso JQ. Chronic administration of oral trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for acne vulgaris. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2011;4(8):58-66.
- Massinde A, Ntubika S, Magoma M. Extensive hyperpigmentation during pregnancy: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2011;5:464. doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-464
- Sarkar SB, Sarkar S, Ghosh S, Bandyopadhyay S. Addison's disease. Contemp Clin Dent. 2012;3(4):484-6. doi:10.4103/0976-237X.107450
- Lause M, Kamboj A, Fernandez faith E. Dermatologic manifestations of endocrine disorders. Transl Pediatr. 2017;6(4):300-312. doi:10.21037/tp.2017.09.08
- Enguita FJ, Leitão AL. Hydroquinone: environmental pollution, toxicity, and microbial answers. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:542168. doi:10.1155/2013/542168
- Arora P, Sarkar R, Garg VK, Arya L. Lasers for treatment of melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2012;5(2):93-103. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.99436
- Prohaska J, Badri T. Cryotherapy. StatPearls Publishing. 2019.
- Schalka S. New data on hyperpigmentation disorders. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2017;31 Suppl 5:18-21. doi:10.1111/jdv.14411
- American Academy of Dermatology. Variety of Options Available to Treat Pigmentation Problems. February 5, 2013.
- Tomecki J, Woodhouse G. Common Benign Growths. Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education.
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.