Age spots, also known as “lentigines”, “liver spots” or “sun spots”; appear as pigmented areas of the skin.
- Flat, brownish, patchy spots
- Look like over-sized freckles or flat moles
- Can appear on face or body
What Causes Age Spots?
Unfortunately, age spots are caused directly by the sun and they are a sign of photo-damage and over-exposure to the sun which builds up over time.
The appearance of melanin pigment in our skin is triggered by the sun’s rays. Melanin absorbs sunlight and provides a certain level of natural protection from UV rays.
However, over time and with prolonged or intense exposure to the sun, the melanocyte cells that produce melanin pigment become damaged and cause abnormal melanin pigment which appears as sun spots or age spots.
Tanned skin is highly attractive and it’s hard to remember that a tan is a sign of sun damage.
Prevention of Age Spots
Age spots may be prevented by avoiding exposure to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. This means:
- Avoiding the sun at its peak (11-4pm)
- Using high factor sun cream all the time
- Reapplying sun cream regularly to maintain the benefit
Age spots in themselves are not normally cancerous. However, any skin lesion that causes concern should be checked. If it has changed colour, shape, or looks in any way worrying, then do seek attention.
Treating Age Spots
Modern aesthetic medicine has a number of options that can be highly effective in treating age spots.