out damn spot!
June 24, 2008 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Besides sunspots/liver spots, what could be the reason that my hands have developed little brown spots on them?

Because I come from Mediterranean-ish descent, I tend to be a wee bit hairier than is generally desired for an American woman. Because of this, about 3 weeks ago, I waxed my arms including the tops of my hands. I only do this a few times a year.

A few days after doing so, I noticed light brown spots on my hands - only between my thumb and index finger (on both hands). I'm certain they're not broken capillaries. The look like small and pale(er) liverspots, that develop along with aging. I'm 28 and have never seen these spots before.

What could the be? Should I be scared? It's been about 2-2.5 weeks now. They're just a few shades darker than the general color on my arms (a Mediterranean-ish hue. I'm kind of pale, but my arms are naturally, and weirdly a shade or two more golden/dark than the rest of my body - even in the winter when they don't see the sun for months).

From about 3 feet away, the spots are not visible. In fact, at first glance, it looks like I ate something - maybe a sandwich with a generous amount of sloppy balsamic dressing - that just got my hands a little dirty.

I'm pretty conscientious about sun exposure, having had a relative die from skin cancer when I was a kid. I wear sunscreen, don't go out tanning, but follow the common sense rule - stay in the shade, but a few minutes of sun is generally fine.

Are they just sun spots? Should I be worried? What else could these spots be?
posted by jalebi to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think these spots are a side effect of your wax job.

As we have seen, the color of hair is due to the presence in the cortex of granules of a pigment called melanin, which is formed in special pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) in the hair bulb during the growing phase (anagen) of each hair.

This implies that the melanocytes stop producing the melanin during the rest phase of the hair.

But by waxing, you pulled out some of the hairs during their active growth phase when the melanocytes were still producing the melanin. They evidently kept producing melanin for a little while, but since there was no hair for it to go into, the grains of melanin ended up in your skin instead, producing a dark spot.
posted by jamjam at 4:06 PM on June 24, 2008

My dermatologist also says that birth control pills can cause dark spots in skin.
posted by Ostara at 6:05 PM on June 24, 2008

The backs of your hands are almost always exposed outdoors, and are the most likely place for sunscreen to wear off or wash off quickly. My guess would be that you're seeing freckles or as you say, sun spots.

Maybe you're just hyper-aware of your hands and arms now since waxing?
posted by Lou Stuells at 7:02 PM on June 24, 2008

If they are slightly raised they could be a form of wart. So sez my MD.
posted by trinity8-director at 10:08 PM on June 24, 2008

If they look freckle-ish, they could be due to poor circulation. I have a ton of freckly looking spots on my feet and my doctor blamed them on poor circulation due to my pack-a-day smoking habit (I'm 33).
posted by hootch at 8:59 PM on June 26, 2008

« Older Coffee, anyone?   |   Looking for advice about getting and spending... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.