Age Spots: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Age spots appear after prolonged exposure to the sun. Although they are not dangerous, some people want to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons.

Alter spots can also be called solar lentigines or liver spots. However, they are not related to the liver. These marks are darker than the surrounding skin and flat. These marks can appear to be freckle-like and may be brown, black or tan.

This article will discuss the causes and how to treat them.

What Causes Age Spots

Excessive production of melanin or skin pigment can cause age spots. Doctors are not always able to explain why age spots appear. Age spots can be caused by sun exposure, skin aging, and other forms of ultraviolet light exposure (such as tanning beds).

Age spots are most common in areas that get the most sun, such as:

  • Your face
  • The back of your hands
  • Your shoulders
  • Upper back
  • Your forearms

Who Are at Greatest Risk of Age Spots?

Age spots can occur in anyone of any race, age, or sex. Age spots are more common among people who have certain risk factors. These risk factors include:

  • Being older than 40 years
  • Having fair skin
  • A history of sun exposure
  • A history of frequent use of tanning beds

Symptoms

Age spots are usually found in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun. Which includes:

  • Face
  • Backs of the hands
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Arms
  • Tops of the feet

Age spots may develop either singly or in groups. They can be anywhere from 0.2 to 2.0 centimeters in size. Age spots are more common in those over 40, but they can also form in younger people who get sunburns frequently or use tanning beds. These spots can develop on any skin type, but they are more common in those with lighter skin who are more sensitive to the sun.

Diagnosis

Age spots can be diagnosed by:

  • Visual inspection. By looking at your skin, your doctor will usually be able to diagnose age spots. Because age spots can be caused by different skin conditions, it is important to know the difference.
  • Skin biopsy. Other tests may be performed by your doctor, including a skin biopsy (small sample taken from the skin). This is a way to distinguish between an age spot and other conditions such as lentigo Maligna, which is a type of skin carcinoma. A local anesthetic is used to perform a skin biopsy.

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