Age spots, also known as liver spots or lentiges, are small, brown patches of pigmentation which appear on the skin. They are usually caused by overactive pigment cells and the formation is accelerated by ultraviolet light (UV) from the sun. Prolonged exposure to the sun leads to the production of melanin and they form a cluster of dark pigments to become age spots. Any other sources of UV rays can also contribute to the formation of age spots such as commercial tanning beds.
They vary in size and usually appear on areas that are most frequently exposed to the sun such as face, arms, shoulders, and neck. They can range from a size of a small freckle to about half an inch across.
Age spots are commonly found in middle-aged adults in their 40s or 50s. However, younger people can also get them if they are exposed to the sun very regularly. Although age spots are usually harmless and don’t require medical treatment, they can be unsightly. Just like moles, age spots can also be dangerous if they are darker than others on your body or if they change in appearance over a period of time. These changes may be signs of melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer.
One effective way to reduce the appearance of age spots is to apply sunscreen regularly and avoid sun exposure. It can be very challenging to stay out of the sun totally and getting some age spots may be inevitable. Good news is that these can be removed with laser for cosmetic reasons.
Know Your Problems
- Age spots appear due to accumulative ultra-violet damage.
- Lasers work very well for age spots.