Age spots, also called liver spots and solar lentigo, are flat areas of discoloration that can appear on the skin due to aging. They are more common in people who spend a lot of time outside without sunscreen or have light skin that burns easily. They can be found in various places on the body and range in size from about the size of a pencil eraser to a nickel. However, they are most commonly found on the hands, face, neck, arms, shoulders, and chest. The color of Fort Worth age spots ranges from light brown to black. People with darker skin tones may not notice age spots because they blend in with their skin tone.
What are the causes of age spots?
Hyperpigmentation: The most common types of age spots are caused by hyperpigmentation. This is an increase in the production of skin pigment called melanin. This is due to the overactivity of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. The overproduction of melanin results in a dark brown or black mark on the skin’s surface.
UV light: The primary cause of age spots is exposure to UV light, which causes damage to the DNA in the skin cells. This leads to an accumulation of pigment-producing cells in the area where the DNA has been damaged, resulting in a tan or brown spot in that location.
Hormonal changes: In some cases, age spots can also be caused by hormonal changes that lead to overactive pigment cell production. They can also be present at birth if linked with Turner’s syndrome when there is only one X chromosome instead of two.
What are the symptoms of age spots?
- Tan to dark brown in color
- The rough or grainy texture
- It may be elevated or flat, depending on the location of the lesion
- It may have a white center (areolar depigmentation) if located over an area of broken blood vessels
- It may vary in size from very small to large (macules, 1-2 mm), often with scalloped borders. It may have irregular borders or shoulder areas darker than the rest of the spot.
How are age spots treated?
When age spots bother you, there are several ways to treat them:
- Apply a bleaching cream over the top of the spot every day for about eight weeks. This can make age spots less noticeable but will not get rid of them completely.
- Have a dermatologist inject a chemical solution into your age spot that causes it to fade over time (lasts up to six months). This treatment requires an appointment with a dermatologist who does this procedure regularly and has been trained in its use.
Aging is inevitable, and the effects of time will be visible on your skin no matter what you do. However, age spots aren’t necessarily a result of old age but rather a genetic predisposition that affects the pigment in your skin. These patches of discoloration can appear on your skin at any age, and they may appear on parts of your body where sun exposure is less frequent. The most common areas for these spots to form are the elbows, knees, and lower arms. If you have symptoms of age spots, contact Skin Deep Laser MD professionals.