Dark Spots on Skin
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Reviewed By:

Sarita Nori, MD

Sarita Nori, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Sarita Nori was drawn to dermatology because of the intersection of science and medicine that is at the heart of dermatology. She feels this is what really allows her to help her patients. “There is a lot of problem-solving in dermatology and I like that,” she explains. “It’s also a profession where you can help people quickly and really make a difference in their lives.” | Some of the typical skin problems that Dr. Nori treats include skin cancers, psoriasis, acne, eczema, rashes, and contact dermatitis. Dr Nori believes in using all possible avenues of treatment, such as biologics, especially in patients with chronic diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. “These medications can work superbly, and they are really life-changing for many patients.” | Dr. Nori feels it’s important for patients to have a good understanding of the disease or condition that is affecting them. “I like to educate my patients on their problem and have them really understand it so they can take the best course of action. Patients always do better when they understand their skin condition, and how to treat it.”

Yukiko Ueda, MD

Yukiko Ueda, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Ueda graduated from the Niigata University School of Medicine and trained at the University of Tokyo Medical School. She is currently a clinical assistant professor at the Department of Dermatology, Jichi Medical University, and holds several posts in the dermatology departments at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Komagome Hospital, University of Tokyo, and the Medical Center of Japan Red Cross Society.

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Content updated on Dec 10, 2023

About the symptom

Dark spots on the skin, or hyperpigmentation, occur when some areas of the skin produce more melanin than usual. Melanin gives the eyes, skin, and hair their color.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Facial edema

  • Edema

  • Infertility

  • Abnormal menstruation

  • Headache

  • Unexplained weight loss of 5% or more in 1 month

  • Recent weight loss

  • Easy fatiguability

Possible causes

  • Friction melanosis

    This condition occurs when repeated rubbing of the skin with towels causes discoloration over the clavicle and spine.

  • Acanthosis nigricans

    A skin condition characterized by dark patches on the skin with a thick, velvety texture, usually seen in the neck, armpits, or groin region. It's typically seen in people with high insulin levels, ovarian cysts, thyroid or adrenal gland problems, certain drugs like birth control pills or steroids, cancer, etc.

  • Malignant melanoma (including nails)

    Malignant melanoma is type of skin cancer that develops in the skin cells that produce melanin (melanocytes), which is the pigment that gives skin its color. Malignant melanoma is most commonly found on the skin but can also be found in eyes, on fingernails, and on skin that does not get sun exposure (eg heels). It is diagnosed by biopsy. It may spread to lymph nodes or to other organs in the body quickly or in a delayed fashion.

  • Varicose veins . chronic venous insufficiency . stasis dermatitis
  • Discoid / Nummular eczema
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Asteatotic eczema
  • Acromegaly

Related serious diseases

  • Adrenal insufficiency (e.g. Addison disease)

    The adrenal gland is an organ that releases hormones to control blood pressure and metabolism. In this condition, there are low hormone levels, and the causes include damage to the adrenal glands themselves or parts of the brain that control the adrenal gland. It can present with darkened areas of skin, extreme loss of body water, also known as dehydration, fatigue, weight loss that doesn't happen on purpose, nausea, vomiting or belly pain, lightheadedness or fainting, salt cravings, muscle or joint pains.

Questions your doctor may ask about this symptom

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom

  • Do you have darkened skin?

  • Is your skin itchy?

  • Do you feel any pain or tingling in the affected skin areas?

  • Do you have a fever?

Other Related Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

References

  • Thawabteh AM, Jibreen A, Karaman D, Thawabteh A, Karaman R. Skin Pigmentation Types, Causes and Treatment-A Review. Molecules. 2023 Jun 18;28(12):4839. doi: 10.3390/molecules28124839. PMID: 37375394; PMCID: PMC10304091.

Reviewed By:

Sarita Nori, MD

Sarita Nori, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Sarita Nori was drawn to dermatology because of the intersection of science and medicine that is at the heart of dermatology. She feels this is what really allows her to help her patients. “There is a lot of problem-solving in dermatology and I like that,” she explains. “It’s also a profession where you can help people quickly and really make a difference in their lives.” | Some of the typical skin problems that Dr. Nori treats include skin cancers, psoriasis, acne, eczema, rashes, and contact dermatitis. Dr Nori believes in using all possible avenues of treatment, such as biologics, especially in patients with chronic diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. “These medications can work superbly, and they are really life-changing for many patients.” | Dr. Nori feels it’s important for patients to have a good understanding of the disease or condition that is affecting them. “I like to educate my patients on their problem and have them really understand it so they can take the best course of action. Patients always do better when they understand their skin condition, and how to treat it.”

Yukiko Ueda, MD

Yukiko Ueda, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Ueda graduated from the Niigata University School of Medicine and trained at the University of Tokyo Medical School. She is currently a clinical assistant professor at the Department of Dermatology, Jichi Medical University, and holds several posts in the dermatology departments at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Komagome Hospital, University of Tokyo, and the Medical Center of Japan Red Cross Society.

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