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Age Spots

What are Age Spots?

Age spots, also called liver spots and solar lentigines, are flat tan, brown or black spots. They vary in size and usually appear on skin exposed to the sun. While very common in adults older than 50, age spots can occur in younger people who spend a lot of time in the sun too.

Treatments

Limiting the exposure of skin to the sun is the most effective treatment to prevent age spots, however, once they occur products containing hydroquinone and kojic acid can be effective. These ingredients work well alone, but their effectiveness is enhanced with the addition of glycolic acid. Always check with your dermatologist.

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All about Age Spots

Age spots, also referred to as liver spots, become more common with age, but they’re more related to sun exposure than they are a direct consequence of aging. Older people who have protected their skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing are less likely to experience age spots, although most people after a certain age will have at least a few of these pigmented lesions on their hands or face. They typically look like small spots on the skin and are brown in color because they’re made up of melanin, the pigment that gives skin and hair its color.

What Causes Them?

Sun exposure is the number one cause of these spots. When skin is repeatedly exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun, more melanin is produced. Age spots are nothing more than clumps of pigment. As might be expected, they’re more common on areas of the skin that are exposed to direct sunlight such as the face, back of the hands and forearms. Fortunately, they’re not harmful, and they aren’t pre-cancerous. On the other hand, sun exposure increases the risk of both age spots and skin cancers, so it’s a good idea to have regular skin exams if you have them.

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