Age Spots

Age spots appear most often where the skin is repeatedly exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, neck, exposed scalp, and arms. Age spots can mimic cancerous growth; however, our dermatology providers can differentiate between cancerous lesions and benign age spots, and recommend the appropriate steps to address your concerns. Schedule an appointment with one of our Webster Dermatology providers to discuss the best treatment plan for your age spots. 

Symptoms of Age Spots

  • Flat, Oval Shapes: Age spots are flat, oval-shaped areas of skin with no raised texture.
  • Brown, Gray, or Black Color: Often appear in shades of brown, gray, or black.
  • Small to Medium Size: Age spots can range in size from small to medium.
  • Common Areas: They frequently occur on sun-exposed areas such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms.

Causes of Age Spots

  • Age spots are more likely to appear on people whose lifestyle exposes them to the sun.
  • Over time, the skin loses its ability to repair itself after sun exposure and the spots appear. 

Preventing Age Spots

The best way to prevent age spots is to keep the skin from becoming overexposed to the sun by covering it with clothing or using a broad-spectrum, high-SPF sunscreen. You can work with our skin experts to determine the best course of skincare specific to your skin and individual needs.

FAQs for Age Spots

Age spots are generally harmless and not indicative of a serious medical condition. However, it's essential to differentiate age spots from other skin conditions, such as melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. If you notice any changes in the appearance of your spots, including size, color, or irregular borders, or if they become itchy or bleed, it's crucial to consult with your dermatologist for a proper evaluation.

Age spots do not typically fade naturally, but their appearance may be influenced by sun protection measures. Regular use of sunscreen and sun-protective measures can prevent the spots from darkening and may contribute to a more even skin tone over time.

Age spots and freckles are distinct skin conditions. Freckles, also known as ephelides, are generally smaller, lighter in color, and often appear in individuals with fair skin. They are caused by an increase in melanin production and are usually genetic. Age spots, on the other hand, are larger, darker, and are associated with both aging and sun exposure. While freckles may darken with sun exposure, age spots are more likely to develop in areas that receive chronic sun exposure over many years.

While sun exposure is a primary factor in the development of age spots, they can also occur in areas not directly exposed to the sun. Other factors, such as genetics, can contribute to the formation of age spots. Additionally, artificial sources of UV radiation, such as tanning beds, can also increase the risk of age spot formation. It's important to practice sun protection and be aware of overall sun exposure, even if you haven't spent extended periods outdoors.

Age spots are primarily caused by prolonged exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Over time, this exposure can lead to an accumulation of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. This excess melanin forms dark spots or patches on the skin, commonly appearing on areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms.

From our QualDerm Family of Brands: What Are Age Spots?

Treatments for Age Spots

There is no medical need to treat age spots; however, the proper diagnosis should be made by a dermatology provider since some skin cancers have similar appearances. Healthy, glowing skin is our goal and our skin experts are available to create a custom treatment plan that matches your skin goals.

If one opts to treat age or sun spots, there are cosmetic options, including:
  • Laser Therapy: Lasers can target pigment in age spots, breaking it down and allowing the body to naturally eliminate the discolored cells.
  • Chemical Peels: A chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing it to peel and new, evenly pigmented skin to replace the old skin.
  • Microdermabrasion: This procedure involves gently exfoliating the outer layer of skin, which can help reduce the appearance of age spots.