Age Spots and Liver Spots

Age spots, also known as liver spots, are flat areas on your skin that have increased pigmentation. Age spots have the appearance of large, flat freckles on the skin, ranging in colour from light brown to black. These marks appear on your skin due to prolonged exposure to the sun. They are most prevalent on areas of the body which have had the most sun exposure such as the backs of the hands, shoulders, face, forehead, forearms, and shoulders.

Excessive melanin production by the body causes the development of age spots. Your skin tends to produce more melanin to protect your skin from Ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. As melanin production increases, it may become clumped together. Increases in the concentration of melanin results in the appearance of age spots.

The age spots vary in size and can be either single or clustered. They are most prevalent in people over 40, but also appear in younger people who use tanning beds. People with lighter skin which burns easily are at a higher risk of developing age spots.

Age spots are painless and harmless, but if there is a change in appearance, it is advisable to seek medical advice. This is because the age spots may resemble skin cancer. If the spot develops a dark pigmentation, increases in size, and becomes itchy, you should visit the doctor immediately. These changes may signify a melanoma. A dermatologist will perform a visual examination to identify the age spots. A skin biopsy may also be carried out to determine the nature and extent of the condition.  

Some people opt to remove age spots for cosmetic reasons alone. There are many treatments available at the Cadogan Clinic to remove or minimize the appearance of age spots, including cryotherapy, micro-needling and chemical peels and laser.

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