Age Spots / Lentigines
Age spots, also known as liver spots or solar lentigines, are dark, pigmented areas that appear on the skin due to prolonged exposure to the sun. They are usually flat, oval-shaped, and range in color from light brown to dark brown or black. Age spots commonly appear on areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, arms, shoulders, and back.
Age spots are caused by an overproduction of melanin, which is the pigment that gives color to the skin. When the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, it triggers the production of melanin as a protective response. However, over time, this repeated exposure to the sun can cause an uneven distribution of melanin in the skin, resulting in the formation of age spots.
Age spots are more common in individuals over the age of 50, hence the name “age spots.” However, they can also appear in younger individuals who have had significant sun exposure. Other risk factors for age spots include having fair skin, a history of sunburns, and a family history of age spots.
While age spots are generally harmless, some people may choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. Treatment options for age spots include topical creams containing hydroquinone, which can help lighten the skin, and cryotherapy, which involves freezing the age spots with liquid nitrogen.
To prevent age spots from developing, it is important to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. This can be done by wearing protective clothing, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, and applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed areas of skin. It is also recommended to avoid tanning beds and to limit sun exposure during peak hours when the sun’s rays are strongest.
In summary, age spots are dark, pigmented areas that appear on the skin due to prolonged sun exposure. While generally harmless, they can be a cosmetic concern for some individuals. Preventative measures such as wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen can help to reduce the risk of developing age spots.
If you have noticed more age spots on your skin and would like an evaluation or treatment, contact our office at 972-668-3376 (DERM)