The sudden appearance of spots near your eye can cause discomfort and concern. While the spots are often preventable and typically do not threaten your overall health, in some cases a doctor’s care is needed to prevent scarring, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Understand the common triggers of spots near your eyes to know when you should seek help. Contact your doctor before taking any home remedy that claims to resolve skin issues.
Flat spots near your eye that are brown, gray or black are likely age spots—sometimes referred to as solar lentigines or liver spots. The size of the spots varies. Adults older than 40 carry the highest risk for the condition, as well as people with light skin or those with a history of sunburn. Small red or white spots or bumps around your eyes that accompany itching are a common sign of folliculitis, a bacterial infection of your hair follicles. The spots often spread across the face and may lead to scarring in severe cases.
A buildup of melanin, or the pigment that gives your skin color, is the cause of age spots near your eyes. The spots develop slowly after years of continued exposure to the sun or indoor tanning beds. Your family history also plays a role in the development of age spots. Injuries to the skin on your face, excessive sweating and friction from shaving all contribute to bacterial infections that cause folliculitis spots, although your risk is higher for the condition if you have diabetes, acne or are overweight, reports MayoClinic.com.
Most age spots do not threaten your health. Your doctor may prescribe bleaching creams for severe cases, as well as laser therapy that can be costly. Folliculitis spots often heal without treatment, although persistent infections are typically treated with antibiotics to prevent scarring.
Minimize your exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and always wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 to reduce your risk for age spots near the eyes. Wash your face twice daily with antibacterial soap or apply non-prescription antibiotic ointment to the spots to accelerate the healing of folliculitis. Discomfort is often minimized by the application of a warm washcloth to the spots several times daily, although avoid sharing washcloths or towels when possible. Some people with folliculitis benefit from oatmeal lotion, available at most drugstores.
Your health insurance may not cover the cost of medical care for the removal of age spots near the eyes, since the treatment will be designated as cosmetic, says MayoClinic.com. Avoid the expense of professional care by using non-prescription fade creams or lotions that can lighten the spots--although results may not be recognized for at least a few months. Creams with glycolic or kojic acid, hydroquinone or deoxyarbutin are often the most effective; however, hydroquinone may lead to skin irritation when used over a long-term period.
- MayoClinic.com: Folliculitis: Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- New York Times: Liver Spots
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Common Bacterial Skin Infections
- MayoClinic.com: Age Spots (Liver Spots): Prevention
- Merck Manuals: Folliculitis and Skin Abscesses
- MayoClinic.com: Age Spots (Liver Spots): Lifestyle and Home Remedies