What are age spots?
Age spots, also known as liver spots and solar lentigines, are flat tan, brown or black spots. They vary widely in size and usually appear in areas most exposed to the sun, like the face, hands, shoulders and arms. Age spots are very common in adults ages 50 and older; however, younger people can get them too, especially if they spend a lot of time in the sun without sunscreen.
Age spots occur when the top surface layer of the skin expands with more pigment and develops what can look like a large freckle. An age spot may appear by itself, or a few may be clustered together.
Are age spots harmful?
True age spots are harmless and can be left untreated. The best way to prevent age spots and maintain more youthful-looking skin is to avoid the sun and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day.
However, brown spots and age spots can resemble precancers which are scaly, red elevations called actinic keratoses (AK). Dark spots, which may be skin cancer, may also appear to be lentigines. For these reasons, having any spot on your skin that has newly appeared evaluated by a dermatology provider is important.
How can you avoid getting age spots?
Below are tips for minimizing the risk of getting age or brown spots.
What are my treatment options?
While age spots are not harmful, depending on the location, they can be undesirable. For cosmetic purposes, age spots can be lightened with skin-bleaching products or removed. If you have age spots you want to have lightened or removed or are concerned about, schedule an appointment with a Valley of the Sun Dermatology provider today.