Brown freckle-like spots on feet and ankles are more common than you may think. These spots generally occur when a patch of your skin contains or produces melanin more than the area of surrounding skin. You may wonder, what is melanin? It is the skin pigment that gives color to your skin. How dark your skin is would depend on how much melanin your skin has. Freckle-like spots indicate that those skin areas contain excess melanin. Since these spots have to do with melanin, you may think they only occur in dark-skinned people. But they are common in people of other skin tones too.
Brown freckle-like spots can appear, not only on the ankles and feet. But they appear on other body parts too. Anyways, you can take several steps to lighten the spots. And you can take steps to prevent the development of new spots. In this article, we will closely examine the common things that could cause freckle-like spots on your ankles and feet. But then, in most cases, these spots are harmless. As you read on, however, we will tell you about the symptoms that could call for serious concern and what can be done to treat the freckle-like spots. These include OTC products, prescription drugs, and other medical procedures.
Possible Causes of Brown Freckle-like Spots on Feet and Ankles
Several things can cause freckle-like spots on ankles and feet. Most of them are likely harmless. But then, sometimes, these spots may indicate something really serious.
Well, the following are possible causes of freckle-like spots:
1. Sun damage
The way our skins react to sunlight exposure is to produce more melanin. And with excessive sunlight exposure, some skin patches might produce melanin much more than the nearby skin.
So if you are getting excess exposure to sunlight, dark freckle-like spots may begin to appear on your ankles and feet. If your skin is light, sun damage would be the most likely cause of freckle-like spots on your skin. That includes your feet and legs.
2. Post-inflammation hyperpigmentation
Sometimes, freckle-like spots occur as a result of inflammation hyperpigmentation. You can have these spots after acne, psoriasis, eczema, or skin injury clears off.
These conditions can lead to inflammation. Inflammation will, in turn, increase melanin production in the affected areas. Dermatologists tell us that the kinds of spots are common in those who have darker skin.
Melanoma is one of the skin cancer types. It is more dangerous than any other skin cancer type. In males, melanoma appears mainly on the trunk or face. But in females, it develops around the legs.
Melanoma takes different forms. You need to visit a dermatologist to check if a spot is a melanoma or not.
Meanwhile, melanoma does not only develop as new spots. Most times, they develop from existing spots. Some of the signs you should check for includes moles that:
- Have irregular borders or shape
- Bleed or itch
- Are larger than one-fourth of one inch
- Change in shape, size, or color
Symptoms that Call for Concern
You see that freckle-like spots on ankles and feet are not always dangerous or harmful. But then, some symptoms would call for concern. During your routine checkup, you should mention them to your doctor.
When you carry your physician along, they can examine it properly. The physician can also help you monitor changes. They would also help you find the most effective and safest treatment types.
Signs that may call for concern include the following:
- Raised spots, rather than smooth ones
- Moles that change in their appearance
- Dark spots that appear on the soles, palms, toes, fingers, nose, mouth, anus, or vagina.
If the lesions are unusual, don’t ignore them
Meanwhile, you could find help with certain home remedies if you have freckle-like spots. These include the use of sunscreen. While sunscreens can’t lighten your dark spots, they can help prevent the spots from becoming darker.
More so, sunscreens can prevent the formation of new spots. But make sure that you make use of a broad-spectrum product. Such sunscreens have an SPF rating of 30 and above. Sunscreens can also help get the best out of your skin-lightening product.
Treatment for Freckle-like Spots
Treatment options for freckle-like spots include OTC (over-the-counter) treatments. Many OTC creams claim to have the ability to lighten your skin. But there is limited evidence to support the claims.
As expected, some products work much more than others. So expect, to try out a few before you find the best. Make sure to read the label or package insert. They will show you how to use the product. They will also tell you how soon to expect improvements.
Experts tell us that certain ingredients might help manage hyperpigmentation. Find out these ingredients and look for them in any product you will buy.
But then, be careful of ingredients like Arbutin, licorice, and kojic acid. They may cause allergic reactions in certain people. If you experience any allergies, immediately discontinue the product. Also, inform your doctor about allergies.
Meanwhile, the FDA does not approve any product for lightening the skin. Many OTC extracts and supplements aren’t well-regulated. More so, some of them have no well-established guidelines to direct safe use.
If OTC creams don’t work, you may need stronger prescription-grade bleaching creams. They contain higher concentrations of hydroquinone. This ingredient is a powerful skin-lightening agent. You can combine them with mild steroids and prescription retinoids.
These prescription-grade treatments might make freckle-like spots fade out gradually. That often takes some months. However, avoid using hydroquinone straight for too many months. You should take a break. Excessive and unbroken use of hydroquinone can cause darkening.
Aside from OTC and prescription treatment, a few procedures can help with brown freckle-like spots on feet and ankles. These include laser treatments and cryotherapy. But make sure these procedures are carried out by experienced experts.