What Are Age Spots
What are age spots?
Age spots are flat brown, gray, or black spots on the skin. They usually occur on sun-exposed areas. Age spots are also called liver spots, senile lentigo, solar lentigines, or sun spots.
What causes age spots?
Age spots are the result of an excess production of melanin, or skin pigment. Doctors don’t always know why age spots develop. Skin aging, sun exposure, or other forms of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, such as tanning beds, are all possible causes. You’re most likely to develop age spots on the areas of your skin that receive the most sun exposure, including:
- your face
- the back of your hands
- your shoulders
- your upper back
- your forearms
Who is at risk for age spots?
People of any age, sex, or race can develop age spots. However, age spots are more common in people with certain risk factors. These include:
- being older than 40 years old
- having fair skin
- having a history of frequent sun exposure
- having a history of frequent tanning bed use
What are the symptoms of age spots?
Age spots range from light brown to black in color. The spots have the same texture as the rest of your skin, and usually appear on sun-exposed areas. They do not cause any pain.
How are age spots diagnosed?
Age spots are usually diagnosed by looking at your skin. If they’re worried that a dark area isn’t an age spot, a biopsy may be performed where a small piece of skin is removed and checked for cancer or other abnormalities.
How are age spots treated?
Age spots aren’t dangerous and don’t cause any health problems. Treatment isn’t necessary, but some people want to remove age spots because of their appearance.
There are several medical procedures that can remove or reduce age spots. Each medical procedure carries a risk of side effects and complications. Ask your skin care professional about which treatment is the most appropriate for your skin. Cosmetics don’t remove age spots. Instead, they cover them. Ask us for recommend brands that effectively conceal age spots.
Age spots are harmless changes to the skin and don’t cause pain. On rare occasions, age spots can make skin cancer more difficult to diagnose. The appearance of age spots can cause emotional distress for some people. You can often remove or reduce them with treatment.
Schedule an appointment at our office to meet with a dermatologist. You can contact Western Maryland Dermatology at (301) 777-7900 or visit us online at wmderma.com/contact where you can chat with one of our reservation specialists.