What are brown spots?

Sun spots or age spots

Brown or dark spots on the skin often appear with age, especially on the face and hands. The spots we are referring to here also go by the name of sun spots, age spots, liver spots or solar lentigines. As the names imply, these spots are caused by sun exposure and age. Importantly, these spots should not be confused with freckles, melasma, moles or melanomas. What defines sun spots and age spots from other brown spots, is that they appear in areas where there has been a lot of sun exposure. For those susceptible to developing sun/age spots, they will usually start to appear from the age of thirty and often initially on the face. Luckily, these spot are easily removed with cryotherapy, and usually only one session is needed.

Before coming in for treatment it is important to establish whether the brown spots you’re wishing to have removed are sun or age spots. The distinguishing features of these spots are:

  • Flat to the surface of the skin. When you run a finger over a sun/age spot it will feel like normal skin.

  • Located in an area where there has been a lot of sun exposure, such as the face, arms, shoulders or the hands.

  • Clearly defined smooth edges and usually of a size between a pin head and 10 mm in diameter.

Seborrheic keratosis

These brown spots are also referred to as senile warts, seborrheic warts or basal cell papillomas. Senile warts are extremely common in people over the age of 40. By the age of 70, 75% of people will have at least one of these brown spots. The cause of seborrheic keratosis is not known, although it seems to be hereditary. They are caused by a harmless build up of skin cells. They have a very distinct “pasted on” appearance and will start out flat and slowly grow into raised, rough to the touch, lesions. The distinguishing features of seborrheic keratosis are:

  • Rough surface, which can resemble the feel of a wart.

  • Range in colour from light brown to very dark brown.

  • Usually found on the trunk, but can also grow on the head and neck.

  • Can range in size from a few mm to several cm in diameter.

Do I need a medical diagnosis to have my brown spots removed?

It is not necessary to get a doctor’s diagnosis before coming in for treatment. However, after your consultation at the clinic, you may be asked to get an opinion from your GP before starting treatment. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish sun or age spots and early stage seborrheic keratosis from melanoma (a type of skin cancer). It is therefore in some cases wise to get a doctor’s opinion if the spots are found in an unusual place. It may also be that your brown spot has some of the features of melanoma, such as those listed below:

  • Asymmetrical edges, if you draw a line through the centre of the brown spot the two sides will, in most cases look very different.

  • Irregular borders and edges

  • Inconsistent colour which could range from browns, red, black, pink and in some cases blue.

  • Recent changes in shape, size or colour or other characteristics.

If at all in doubt, get a doctors opinion.

How do you remove brown spots?

Sun spots or age spots

The Cryopen is extremely effective at removing sun spots. After an initial consultation the treatment can be carried out on the same day. The brown spot is evenly sprayed with nitrous oxide, at a temperature of –89°C for 5 sec. This will freeze and destroy the very top layer of skin, which is where the sun/age spot resides. A very thin scab will form over the next few days after treatment. This will look like the brown spot has turned a darker colour. Once this thin scab falls off, fresh new skin will be revealed without any trace of the brown spot. One treatment is usually all that is needed.

Seborrheic keratosis

The Cryopen is extremely effective at removing seborrheic keratosis. After an initial consultation the treatment can be carried out on the same day. The brown spot is evenly sprayed with nitrous oxide, at a temperature of –89°C for 5-20 sec depending on size and depth. This will freeze and destroy the outer layer of the skin where the brown spot is located. The lesion will fall of after a few weeks, revealing fresh new skin underneath. One treatment is usually all that is needed, however for very large seborrheic keratosis lesions a second treatment may be needed.

How much will it cost?

The clinic prides itself on providing affordable brown spot removal.

Treatment prices include a free consultation. One brown spot is defined as up to the size of 5 mm. The prices below should be used as a guidance. Second treatment if needed charged at half price.


Age Spot or Sun Spot Removal (1-2 spots included) £40

Age Spot or Sun Spot Removal (3-5 spots included) £70

Age Spot or Sun Spot Removal (5-10 spots included) £100

Age Spot or Sun Spot Removal (10-15 spots included) £150


Seborrheic keratosis Removal (1 spots included) £40

Seborrheic keratosis Removal (2-3 spots included) £70

Seborrheic keratosis Removal (4-7 spots included) £100

Seborrheic keratosis Removal (8-15 spots included) £150