Skin patches called “age spots” are typical in older people. These spots are sometimes known as lentigines, lentigos, and liver spots, although having nothing to do with the liver. Even though they pose no danger, some individuals still want to get rid of them for improved appearance.
A particular age spot may emerge, or a group of them may form on your face or hands as your age progresses. While they can start growing at any time, they are most frequent in middle and older adults — mainly if they have spent time under a significant amount of sunlight.
The best part is that age spots are harmless and never progress to malignancy. However, if you notice any unusual patches on your body, it’s best to have a dermatologist look at them.
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What are Age Spots?
The multiple ‘dark brown and black spots’ you see on your skin are age spots. It’s common for them to appear on the face, shoulders, arms, and hands, as these areas are most exposed to sunlight.
Age spots form when the skin’s outermost layer enlarges with more melanin, making a freckle-like lesion that looks much older than it is. It’s possible to see a single one or a group of them. A wide range of sizes is possible, from 0.02 to 2.0 cm. You can differentiate these spots with sharp margins, a dark tint, and an asymmetrical appearance.
Even though individuals, including all skin tones, can have age spots, those with lighter complexions seem more affected. Age spots are permanent, unlike the normal childhood freckles that disappear when the skin is not exposed to sunlight.
Indications of Age Spots
The two leading causes of age spots are hereditary and sun exposure.
- According to experts, certain people may be genetically predisposed to developing age spots. Age spots can appear anytime, even in young children; nevertheless, they seem more common in adults.
- Secondly, the pigment cells in the skin multiply too quickly when sunlight is exposed, resulting in age spots. Melanin, the primary pigment responsible for skin color, is synthesized in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Age spots mainly develop on skin exposed to the sun for a long time when melanin accumulates inside the tissue or is formed in high concentrations. So, even if age spots run in your genes, more exposure to sunlight will make you more vulnerable to getting them.
Risk factors and Prevention
Everyone can get age spots, but those with a history of a particular set of variables are more likely to do so. Among these are:
- Age 40 and above.
- Fair complexion.
- Excessive exposure to sunlight.
Keeping these variables in mind, one can avoid age spots from developing by;
- Avoiding sun radiation during the peak times (12 pm-3 pm).
- Making use of sunscreen whenever going out during the day-time.
- Covering areas of the skin that are vulnerable to age spots, like hands and face.
Diagnosis of Age Spots with Online Lab Tests
A dermatologist or other medical practitioner typically diagnoses age spots through visual examination, a biopsy, or sometimes both.
- To identify whether or not the spot is an age spot, your specialist will conduct a visual examination and evaluate the spot’s coloration, width, and size. They may also apply pressure to the area to detect if the surface differs from the adjacent skin or is elevated.
- Age spots and melanoma, a malignancy that develops in pigmented cells, can look very similar at first glance. Your dermatologist may recommend a biopsy when they suspect the dark spot is more than an age spot.
With this method, a tiny bit of skin around the age spot is removed and sent to a lab to be analyzed for diseases. One can rest easy knowing that their black patches are only aging markings thanks to this convenient online lab test.
Treatment at a Wellness Clinic
Age spots caused by years of cumulative sun exposure are a natural and beautiful part of the aging process and do not require special treatment. They can be diminished in intensity or eliminated if desired.
However, if you still wish to remove these spots for enhanced appearance, you may use prescribed creams or undergo medical procedures.
- People with age spots can use bleaching creams prescribed by a doctor. These lotions take a few months to erase age spots and increase UV sensitivity. Hence, it is imperative always to wear sunscreen while using these lotions.
- A surgeon can also perform medical techniques to eliminate or significantly diminish age spots, but they all have the potential for unwanted effects and consequences. These techniques include cryotherapy, laser surgery, skin peels, or microdermabrasion.
Age spots are completely non-cancerous and need no medical attention whatsoever. They are generally caused by excessive exposure to sunlight. However, you should get a medical checkup if you see any unusual signs or changes on your skin.