Age Spots

Age spots are small, flat, dark areas on the skin. The spots are usually tan to dark brown, and they grow bigger and group together, giving the skin a speckled appearance.

They are common in adults 50 and older, but younger people can also get them. Age spots — also called sunspots, liver spots and solar lentigines — appear on areas of the skin that have had sun exposure over many years. Common places for age spots are the back of the hand, shoulders and upper back.

They are caused by overactive pigment cells. Melanin is a natural pigment that gives skin its color, but ultraviolet (UV) light speeds up the production of melanin.

Age spots are more common in people who have light skin or a history of intense sunburns.

Age spots don’t require medical care, but they should be checked if they change in appearance. Getting an annual skin check by a dermatologist is a good way to keep up with them.

However, many people simply don’t like the look of age spots and want to remove them. Treatments include creams, laser and intense pulsed light, freezing (also called cryotherapy), dermabrasion, microdermabrasion or chemical peel.

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