Though occasionally troubling in appearance, most dark spots that appear on a child's skin are harmless. Birthmarks, rashes, exposure to the sun or infections of the skin can cause dark spots to appear. Many are treatable and some may be preventable with proper sun protection when outside, and some will fade away as the child ages. When dark marks trouble parents and their children, a pediatrician or dermatologist can provide answers and treatment, if necessary.
Use sunscreen. Pigmentation can increase when children are exposed to the sun without protection. Uneven patches of color, or freckles, can appear on the child's skin when sun protection is inadequate, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Using and reapplying sunscreen, staying in the shade during the sun's brightest hours and avoiding reflective surfaces such as sand or snow can help to protect a child's skin from the sun's damaging effects.
Ask a doctor. A professional dermatologist or pediatrician can identify troublesome spots and recommend treatment for them, if any. Dark patches or rashes may indicate a condition like acanthosis nigricans, a darkening and thickening of the skin due to high insulin levels in the blood, according to Kids Health. A reliable physician can pinpoint the rash's cause and prescribe a treatment plan.
Be patient. Some marks, such as salmon patches, cafe-au-lait marks and strawberry hemangiomas may lighten or disappear on their own with age, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. New moles may appear on a child's skin as early as the age of 5, and most are harmless.
Consult a dermatologist. Dermatologists can treat or even remove some dark spots, and can provide a plan for the treatment of acne. Products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can reduce the occurrence of acne break-outs, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, though other treatments may be prescribed.
Cover it up, or have it removed. When a dark spot appears close to a child's eye or mouth, it may require removal by a licensed dermatologist. Some marks such as port wine stains should be regularly evaluated for size, and can be covered with pigmented make-up or removed with laser treatments, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics website Healthy Children.
- Healthy Children: Birthmarks and Hemangiomas
- Kids Health: Pityriasis Rosea
- Kids Health: Acanthosis Nigricans
- Ask Dr. Sears: Rashes
- American Academy of Dermatology: What To Do About Birth Marks
- American Academy of Dermatology: Different Kinds Of Birthmarks
- American Academy of Dermatology: Acne: Diagnosis, Treatment and Outcome
- American Academy of Dermatology: What Causes A Sunburn And Suntan?
- American Academy of Dermatology: How To Prevent Skin Cancer