Age Spots

Age Spots: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Age spots, often referred to as liver spots or solar lentigines, vary in size and shape and can often be seen on the hands, shoulders, face, and arms. This is due to the fact that these places are exposed more to the sun. They are flat, and can be tan, brown or black in colouring. They are commonly seen in adults that are over the age of 50, but if younger individuals spend a lot of time in the sun, they can see them appear as well. Most age spots are harmless as they are not cancerous. They are most seen in individuals that have a fair complexion, however those with darker skin tones can easily have age spots.

What are the symptoms of age spots?

As stated above, age spots are flat, and appear to be brown, tan or black in colour. They occur on skin that is most exposed to the sun. They can vary in size from the size of a freckle to ½ inch in diameter. Often times, age spots will cluster together, making them appear to be larger.

Age spots are harmless but they should be examined from time to time to make sure that they are not a form of skin cancer. If the spot increases in size in a short time frame, becomes dark in pigmentation, has an irregular border, itches, is tender, bleeds, or has an unusual colour combination, it is best to be examined by a dermatologist to rule out skin cancer.

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Are there any ways that age spots can be avoided?

Age spots can be avoided by wearing a high quality sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Apply the sunscreen half an hour before heading outdoors to allow it to soak into the skin. Individuals should wear a hat when in the sun, as well as a pair of sunglasses. Avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10 am to 3 pm.

What are the treatments for age spots?

There are many different treatments used by skin specialists for age spots. These treatments include:

  • Photo rejuvenation

    Photo Rejuvenation is a non-surgical process that uses powerful light technology. Pigmentation of the skin will appear to be lighter after just a few treatments. Photo rejuvenation works well to quickly fade age spots on the skin. There is minimal discomfort felt during the process, and after just one treatment, there will be noticeable results. Treatment takes as little as half an hour, and individuals may return to normal life activities immediately after a session. The number of treatments will be based on how severe the age spots are. Side effects are rarely seen, with some minor swelling and redness possibly seen after the treatment, but this usually dissipates after an hour or so.

  • Cryotherapy

    Cryotherapy is freezing of the skin. Liquid nitrogen will be applied to destroy the pigmentation of the skin. Once the skin begins to heal, there will be a lighter colouring. There is the risk of scarring or discoloration of the skin that is permanent.

  • Dermabrasion

    Dermabrasion may be used to rid the skin of age spots. The surface of the skin will be sanded down with a rotating brush. New skin will grow in the place of the skin that is being removed. Scabs will form after the old skin is sanded away. Skin will be red temporarily after the process.

  • Medications

    Medications may be prescribed that can bleach the skin or make the age spots fade away. Medications may make the skin red, itchy, or cause burning. They may also dry out the skin. It is crucial that if medication is used for age spots, a high quality sunscreen be worn when exposed to the sun.



9 replies
  1. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    I have age spots on my arms. I realized that I am getting older but I still do not like the look of them. I often refer to them as liver spots, as that is what my grandmother referred to them as. Makes me just feel old like a granny. I want it to be taken care of. I think that this article was very informative on how age spots are formed and what the best treatments are. I would like to meet with a dermatologist to go over the treatments that they offer and to see if any of them would be right for me.

  2. abby
    abby says:

    Excellent article on age spots. I have one on my shoulders from years of sun exposure without wearing sunscreen. Probably one of the dumbest things that I have ever done. I know now that I need to wear sun screen everyday. I am constantly reminded when I wear tank tops and my swimsuit of the damage that I have done to my skin. I want to be able to correct them. Years ago I have dermabrasion done on my face. Not the best experience that I have ever had so I would not go with this treatment for my age spots. I also do not like the idea of applying a lightening cream on my body. I guess I just picture Michael Jackson…he lightened his skin way too much so any kind of skin whitening treatments bother me. The photo rejuvenation does sound like a great idea. I like the fact that it does not really hurt, and so this would probably be the best treatment for me.

  3. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    I have some age spots on my hands that are driving me mad. I will not use medications on them as I do not want to have the dry skin to deal with. I do not like the idea of having scabs either that the dermabrasion would cause. I sort of like the idea of photo rejuvenation. This method seems like it has very little risks associated with it. Has anyone on here had this photo rejuvenation done and if so what would you say about it?

  4. Clowee T.
    Clowee T. says:

    Last year, I had photo rejuvenation done for my acne scarring. I must say that it was a great experience for me. I know that I did not have it done for the age spots like this article talks about, but the sensation that I felt was very minimal. It was just a slight warming sensation. I would do it all over again if I had to. I would suggest this treatment to anyone that it was recommended for. The treatments were fast and easy, and I was able to return to my normal activities right away. Plus, I could wear makeup right away which was a huge plus for me. Photo rejuvenation would be my pick if I had any age spots on my body.

  5. cass claire
    cass claire says:

    Age spots are something that my younger sister struggles with. She is very self-conscious about her body and just does not understand why she is getting them and I am not when she is 5 years younger than me. But I also took exceptional care of my skin when I was younger and did not allow myself to bake out in the sun when she did. I always wore sunscreen and to this day I still do. I really believe that one can help to prevent age spots by being cautious and using common sense.

  6. Evie
    Evie says:

    I have age spots on my skin. Sadly, I never used to wear sunscreen, so I am pretty sure that this is the cause for them. I would love to try a treatment for the spots, as I just feel like others are judging me when they see them. I would much rather do a treatment then be on medication for them. I am interested in doing dermabrasion for these dark spots. Can anyone give me any advice that has had this procedure done for their own spots? Did it work well for you and would you recommend it to others?

  7. Isabella
    Isabella says:

    I am 47 years old and suffer from Liver spots on my face. I am very light skinned, and often did not see sunscreen as something that was necessary to apply. I burn very easily but often did not take this into consideration. Now I know better. I do now wear an SPF and make sure to apply often. Plus I stay out of the sun if I can and if I can not, then I don a hat. I am interested in learning more about treatments for these age spots. I have heard about cryotherapy, but really do not feel that this is a good option for me. I would not be opposed to doing dermabrasion, but really think that the photo rejuvenation sounds like a great idea to me. I will be sure to discuss this with my dermatologist at my next appointment to see if this is a good way to remove my liver spots.

  8. Emma
    Emma says:

    I have been looking for a way to remove my brown spots. They look horrendous on me, and while they do not possess a threat, they still look like they could! I would much rather find a treatment to do that would remove them. I like the idea of dermabrasion, but I am concerned about the downtime after the treatment. Could someone please contact me.

  9. Patricia
    Patricia says:

    I was always so worried about wrinkles when I was in my younger years, and never even considered age spots. But I always wore a high quality sunscreen on my face and covered up with a wide brimmed hat. I am glad that I did because I am not experiencing very many wrinkles and I do not have any age spots to this day. Which I am very grateful for. My close friend has liver spots, and I know that they really bothered her. She always says that she was not beautiful with them, even though she was the most beautiful person I have ever met. It really goes to show you that you need to pay attention to your skin when you are younger so you do not get wrinkles and age or liver spots.


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