What Are “Age Spots” and When to Have Them Checked

What Are “Age Spots” and When to Have Them Checked Feb 11, 2020 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team

Many people develop age spots as they get older (some folks refer to them as liver spots), which are areas that appear to be darker blotches of skin and can range in color from barely noticeable to quite dark. Have you ever wondered what they are or why they show up? Most people do since they are inevitable for some people to develop. In most instances, though, an age spot is nothing more than the accumulation of years of sun damage becoming visible on your skin. Do you need to be “aged” to get them? Not necessarily….

 

What Causes Age Spots?

The more time we spend outside in our youth, the more likely we are to get age spots as we get older. Age spots can show up for some while they’re still in their 30’s, while others may not notice them until several decades later. Typically, an age spot will be brown or gray in color, and the color will be uniform across the spot. The edges of the spot are easy to define, and they most frequently show up on your hands, chest, neck, and face.

 

Are Age Spots Something That Require Treatment?

In nearly all circumstances, age spots will not require any type of treatment. They are simply there and cause no ill effects other than the aesthetic aspect. However, if you do not like how the age spots look, there are many treatments that your dermatologist can review with you - one treatment of age spots that tends to be quite effective is a prescription-strength cream that can help fade the look of the spots, allowing them to more evenly blend in with your natural skin tone.

 

When Are Age Spots Something to Worry About?

It’s important to note that, over time, age spots may change - making it difficult to tell when you should have them looked at by your dermatologist. However, there are some warning signs that you can look for when it comes to changes in your age spots. These signs include:

  • The pigmentation of the skin gets very dark or takes on a blackish hue.
  • There are several colors noticeable within the spot.
  • The spot grows rapidly. If your age spot goes from tiny to large in a short period of time, this is a sign we need to take a closer look.
  • If your age spot begins to hurt, bleed, or itch.

Age spots are common and, most of the time, they’re nothing to worry about. However, at times, what starts off looking like an age spot is actually something else. If you ever have any concerns over spot - or if you notice any of the signs listed above - please don’t hesitate to give our office a call to schedule an appointment. If, after a thorough examination, we see anything that we feel warrants additional testing, we will talk to you about what we see and what the testing means. No matter what your age spot(s) may look like, we will always take the time to look at the spot and make sure it is not something that could affect your overall health. The healthcare providers at Complete Family Dermatology are committed to helping keep our patients’ skin is as healthy as possible!

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