HAVING dark spots on the legs is a fairly common problem which has led to self-esteem issues in some women.
However, due to the cause of the problem, it can be prevented or treated effectively.
Dermatologist Dr Patricia Yap explains that spots on the legs are most often caused by things like mosquito bites. She says that when persons scratch the area that has been bitten then a sore usually develops which later results in a spot.
"If you have a mosquito bite and you scratch it, and you have an infection then you leave a dark spot. But it doesn't have to even be an infection, any form of mosquito or insect bites can create dark spots. "
In this case the best thing to do is to avoid it, she says. In order to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, she advises women especially to wear clothing that offer protection from insects, or use mosquito repellents to ward them off. Parents can also use nets to cover their children, so that they won't have the evidence of severe mosquito bites later on in life. Although mosquitoes target both males and females, she says females are more susceptible as men are usually dressed in pants that offer a lot of protection.
While most women would resort to using bleaching creams and other skin lightening products to improve the appearance of these spots, Dr Yap says that it sometimes worsens the situation instead.
"Some of the bleaching creams are steroids. Some steroids might help to lighten the skin. But usually the side effect is that in excess amounts, they can cause stretch marks," she says.
She says the best thing to do would be to visit a dermatologist who, after doing the necessary examinations, can prescribe medication to treat and eventually eliminate the spots.
Skin specialist, Dr Neil Persadsingh, says that there are a number of methods available to treat spotted legs. After examining the spots with what is called a woods light to see the extent of the damage to the skin, treatment can then be offered to get rid of the pigment causing these spots.
Products containing Retin A can be used as a mild exfoliant to remove the uppermost part of the skin and prepare it for further treatment. Sunblock is also prescribed for use for as much as three times daily to offer protection from the sun.
The patient is also advised to wear pants during this time to offer more protection. In about a month's time of using these treatments, a chemical peel can be done to remove the dark skin and give the leg a more even tone.
To have the spots removed in a short while, Dr Persadsingh says laser surgery can be done, although it is more costly. This is being offered by a number of dermatologists in Jamaica as it has been found to effectively remove the blemishes on the leg. As a last resort, another option is plastic surgery which can be done to cut out the blemishes.
So with so many options open for women to treat dark spots on the leg, women can now feel more comfortable wearing their skirts and dresses.