When to Worry About the Harmless Age Spots


You are likely to confuse age spots for cancerous moles because of their similarity in appearance. Also referred to as liver spots or sun spots, age spots are flat, dark patches with defined borders that develop instantly or over time after extended hours in the sun. The marks are usually painless and appear in various shades of black or brown. Though they are not a preserve for a specific age bracket, Fort Worth age spots specialist Dr. Riehm believes that the unsightly marks are likely to appear as age catches up. This condition mainly affects areas most exposed to the sun including the upper back, shoulders, face, neck, back of your hands, and upper parts of your feet.

Who Is Most Likely to Develop Age Spots?

Age spots are common occurrences, especially in individuals above 50 years with light skin. However, the spots might also affect you if you expose your skin to the harmful sun rays for extended hours. Though age spots mainly affect the elderly, the marks may also appear on young adults and kids after extensive hours in a tanning bed, sun, or after a significant sunburn. Additionally, you might develop the spots if they run in your family.

How Do You Develop Age Spots?

Prolonged exposure to the sun is the primary cause of age spots. The sun’s UV rays accelerate your melanin production, causing the pigmentation to form in a particular area. When the accumulation happens, the affected area becomes dark; a condition called hyperpigmentation. Though the painless spots might sometimes take time to appear, you will suspect their development when you notice symptoms like:

  •         Black, tan, or brown skin patches that seem to darken after spending hours under the sun.
  •         Discolored areas on different areas of your skin with varying sizes.
  •         Clusters or independent patches that appear on your skin.
  •         Dark spots with defined edges.

Are Age Spots Dangerous?

Sunspots are not harmful. However, they might rub negatively on your ego because they are likely to appear in areas that you might find hard to hide. To eliminate possible doubts, you might opt. to inquire from your dermatologist. The medical professional will thoroughly examine the marks and monitor them for potential progression. Your doctor will check for possible age spots look-alikes like lentigo maligna that might be warning signs of skin cancer. Since lentigo maligna is likely to develop in an existing age spot, identifying the difference might be hard without professional assistance. Therefore, the only way to enhance your safety is to work with your dermatologist.

Are Age Spots Reversible?

Age spots are part of your natural aging process. Therefore, it might be impossible to avoid them. However, applying sunscreen might help slow down the development of sunspots. Other cosmetic remedies your healthcare provider might suggest to lighten the marks include prescription creams and laser treatments. Besides treatments, your dermatologist might advise you to wear a hat or clothes likely to filter the sun’s UV rays.

Your age spots are likely to darken the more you expose yourself to the sun or spend extended hours on a tanning bed. However, wearing protective clothing like a hat and using broad-spectrum sunscreen might help relieve your symptoms, preventing the spots from worsening. For further inquiries about age spots, call your dermatologist.

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