Age spots, sometimes called liver spots, are blemishes that appear on your skin and are typically seen as a normal part of aging.
Caused by your skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation over time, age spots can range in color from red to black, but most age spots are a light brown or tan color.
Are Age Spots Dangerous?
Age spots can be dangerous if they mask skin cancer or melanomas, yet in most cases age spots are relatively benign.
In fact, even dermatologists suggest that age spots require no treatment or immediate attention from seniors.
Do Only Seniors Have Age Spots?
Not necessarily. Seniors are more prone to having more age spots than their grandchildren because age spots accumulate as we age. Age spots are caused by exposure to the sun over time, which tends to really tally up as we get older.
That said, younger people can and do develop age spots. The more time that you spend in the sun, whether you're just starting in life or comfortably retired, the higher your chances of developing age spots.
Can Age Spots Be Removed?
Many people find age spots to be unsightly and want them removed or covered up cosmetically. Both are options available today.
Skincare products that bleach the skin can certainly mask an age spot, but this is no permanent solution. Surgery is definitely an option for seniors who want to get rid of their age spots once and for all.
Either laser surgery or cryosurgery are the two most frequent kinds of surgery that seniors looking to rid themselves of age spots normally undergo.
A relatively painless surgery, cryotherapy involves applying extremely cold temperatures to the off-color skin tissue. Again, although most age spots are benign, many people simply want them removed.
Are Some More Susceptible?
Age spots tend to develop in those with lighter skin complexions. This is because age spots are areas of enhanced pigmentation that tend to grow on lighter skin that's been exposed to the sun for many decades.
Age (or liver) spots, moreover, normally develop on areas that get a lot of sun exposure. Common areas for age spots to develop are the shoulders and back as well as the hands and the tops of your feet.
Are Age Spots Always Benign?
Usually age spots are benign, but this isn't always the case. If you notice that one or more of your age spots has an especially dark pigmentation, an uneven border or appears to be suddenly increasing in size, then contact a dermatologist right away.
These symptoms could be a sign of skin cancer or melanoma. Talk to a dermatologist, though, before rushing to conclusions.
Can You Prevent Age Spots?
You can prevent or limit the amount of age spots you are predisposed to getting by wearing sunscreen or staying in the shade when the sun's UV rays are most punishing. Wearing a hat or long sleeves could additionally reduce your sun exposure.