Stains On Hands: Types, Causes and Treatments
The hands are our day to day weapons: they are used constantly and so it is not difficult to get marks like spots, pimples or wounds. If you have noticed spots on your hands, it is normal for concern to arise about the origin of the spots. Melanin is a pigment in our body that gives color to the skin and, when there is too much production, hyperpigmentation of the area causes a darkening of the skin. It is very common for people of advanced age to have hand spots that tend to be more common over time but, in addition to that, there are other possible causes of such dark spots on the hands. In this article, we explain what may be spots on the hands.
Types of stains on hands
When we talk about spots, we are usually talking about a darkening of a small area, with brown spots on the hands. However, depending on the pigmentation, we may find spots that are darker or, on the contrary, lighter.
Melanin is a pigment that determines the color of our skin but is also present in the hair, iris of the eye, inner ear and even the brain. The lack or excess of this pigment causes changes such as white hair (lack of melanin), vitiligo (less melanin) or spots (excess melanin). It is produced by the melanocytes in the base layer of the dermis and, in general, we all have the same melanocytes, except in some cases as the albinos that have much less melanin.
Depending on the lack or excess of melanin, we can appreciate two types of blemishes on the skin:
- Hyperchromic spots: they are darker in color than the skin and appear due to excess melanin.
- Hypochromic stains: they have less menalin and therefore are patches clearer than the skin tone.
Usually, the lack of melanin is caused by some congenital pathology and does not appear over time. Brown spots may, however, appear suddenly and over time due to several factors that we will see next.
There are only two types of brown spots on the hands and the rest of the body that are congenital or that arise during childhood or adolescence: freckles and nevus.
Red spots may also appear on the hands. In this case, the most likely is that it is a pathology such as eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis
Read: Red Spots on Skin
Sun spots on hands
Sun spots on the hands are the most common and can be of two types: immediate or late. Immediate sun spots appear because, after short periods of sun exposure (minutes or hours), melanin oxidizes to a darker shade. Delays appear when there is sun exposure for longer periods such as weeks, for example. In this case, the skin absorbs large amounts of radiation that increases the production of melanin.
Do not forget to use sun protection during sun exposure, whether it is short or long, and even when the day is cloudy, as ultraviolet rays also cross into our skin. In addition, the skin has memory and, over time, spots may appear on the most exposed areas such as the neckline, face or hands.
Hand stains in pregnancy
During pregnancy, many hormonal changes occur that can lead to a higher melanin production in addition to sun exposure. In this case, the spots are called chloasmas. However, they are not a problem and usually disappear on their own after childbirth, when the hormones are regulated and the melanin balances little by little.
Visit: Blisters Between Toes
Old stains on hands
With age, it is very common for brown spots on the hands to appear larger than signs. They are not cause for concern, a ve they are not serious. However, if you are young, you should know that these types of blemishes are caused by sun exposure over the years. As we saw earlier, the skin has memory and, as time goes by, patches on our hands may appear which are explained by previous sun exposure. Always wear protector, including on hands.
In the past, these spots were also known as liver spots, since they were believed to be caused by imbalances in that organ. However, this information has already been disproved and, although some liver diseases cause stains on the hands, they are different from the age spots.
Liver stains on hands
As we saw before, it was once believed that age spots were caused by liver problems. While this has not been proven to be true, some liver conditions cause blemishes on the skin, regardless of the age of the patient. This is due to the detoxifying function that the liver has in our body and, when it fails, affects other parts of the body like the skin, causing spots to appear due to a failure in the detoxification of the organism.
Hormonal stains on hands
Just like in pregnancy, when we suffer a sudden imbalance of hormones it can affect our skin. The pituitary gland produces a hormone called melanocyte stimulating hormone that helps in the production of melanin. A gap of this hormone can cause a melanin production superior to normal. In addition, there are two hormones that also participate in this process, ACTH and lipotropin.
Stains on hands by some substance
When certain substances fall on the skin and it is exposed to the sun, its agents cause blemishes to appear immediately. These substances include lemon, orange, some perfumes and melaleuca oil which, when applied to the skin, can cause staining in conjunction with the sun. For this reason, if you use any of these ingredients on your skin, we recommend that you wait until you are out on the street.
Stains that indicate skin cancer
Skin cancer begins to manifest itself through blemishes. Usually, they are very different spots from the rest and change over the days to be detected as cancer. If you have spots on the skin of your hands that have suddenly appeared and are darker than normal or have a rough texture, or if you notice that they grow as the days go by, see your doctor right away. Signs that grow or are asymmetrical are also a possible indication of cancer.
To know if you have skin cancer, you should take into account the following aspects: asymmetry, color that is not uniform, boundaries not marked, irregular, change in size.
If you notice any blemishes that are darker than usual, which changes shape or size, consult your doctor for a diagnosis as soon as possible. Also, always try to use sunscreen during your time in the sun, the higher, the better. If you go to the beach or the pool, apply protection whenever you get out of the water, as the product may lose effectiveness or disappear.
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