What are Age Spots?
Age spots, also called liver spots or sunspots, are small, dark areas on the skin that vary in size. They most commonly appear on areas that are exposed to the sun such as the face, shoulders, arms, and hands. These spots are very common in individuals over the age of 50.
Common characteristics of age spots include:
- Flat, oval spots of increased pigmentation.
- Are usually tan to dark brown in color.
- Can group together.
- Occur on skin that has the most exposure to the sun, such as the backs of the hands, tops of the feet, face, upper back, and shoulders.
Age spots are caused by overactive pigment cells. UV light speeds up melanin production, the pigment that gives skin its color. Those with light skin who have a history of frequent or intense sunburn may also be more likely to develop age spots.
Age Spot FAQs
What causes age spots?
Age spots are usually caused by over-exposing skin over a long period of time to harmful UV rays from the sun, with melanin production increasing in certain spots, causing a darker appearance to the skin.
Can age spots be prevented?
Anti-oxidants and retinoids help to prevent/treat age spots.
What age do you develop age spots?
Theres no set age at which youre more at risk for age spots, but people over the age of 50 are more likely to have them than people younger than that.
How do you get rid of age spots?
There are many potential treatment methods for age spots, including topical medications and laser therapies.
Does everyone get age spots?
People with light skin who are frequently exposed to the sun over many years are the most likely to develop age spots. Those that use proper skin protection or who have darker skin may not develop age spots.
Treatment Options for Age Spots
For those who want their age spots to be less noticeable, there are treatments that can help to lighten them. The length of each treatment and the time it takes to see results may vary from weeks to months. These procedure options include:
Prescription bleaching creams can be used alone or along with retinoids to gradually fade age spots over time. These treatments may cause temporary itchiness, redness, or dryness of the skin.
Applying a small amount of liquid nitrogen to the age spot will destroy extra pigment. As the area heals, it will appear lighter. Treatment may cause temporary irritation to the skin.
Laser and Intense Pulsed Light
Some laser and intense pulsed light therapies destroy the cells that produce melanin, without damaging the skin’s surface. These treatments often require several sessions for the best results.
This involves applying a chemical solution to the skin to remove the topmost layers. New, smoother skin will then grow in its place, resulting in less noticeable age spots.
Ideal Candidates for Age Spot Treatment
While age spots do not usually require medical care, you should see a dermatologist if your spots are black or have changed in appearance over time. It is also important to see a doctor if your spot is bleeding, has an unusual combination of colors, or has increased in size, as these changes can be signs of melanoma skin cancer. A consultation appointment with Dr. Erwin is required so that she can assess your skin to determine the best treatment option for you.
Contact Us Today
If you are bothered by your age spots and would like to learn more about your treatment options, do not hesitate to contact our office by calling (979) 612-2761 or filling in the online form! We will be more than happy to help you schedule your initial appointment, which is your first step toward treatment.