Age spots, also known as brown spots, liver spots and solar lentigines, are a common sign of aging. Flat, oval areas of pigmentation, age spots tend to appear on parts of the body, such as the face, hands, arms, shoulders and feet, that are exposed to the sun. Most common in people older than 40, they can be freckle-sized or more than a half-inch in length, and range in color from light brown to black. When age spots are grouped together, they appear even larger.
Although age spots are usually caused by accumulated exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light, they may also be the result of using tanning beds/lamps; or genetic predisposition. People with light skin are more likely to develop age spots, as are those with a history of frequent sunburn or sun exposure.
Before and After
Frequently Asked Skin Discoloration Questions
What is skin discoloration?
Do you see dark spots or areas of brown, patchy discoloration on your complexion? That could be caused by hyperpigmentation, one of the most common skin conditions across all skin tones.
What causes discoloration?
There are a few culprits to blame for discoloration. Some common factors are:
- Sun Exposure: After time spent in the sun our skin goes into protection mode and produces more melanin to combat the effects of UV rays. Extra melanin can give us a tan but over exposure to UV rays can cause dark spots in light skinned individuals.
- Genetics: A family history of dark spots.
- Hormones: Melasma is a form of skin discoloration often associated with pregnancy. However it can happen to anyone at anytime. Other hormones also play a factor in skin discoloration.
- Skin trauma: Changes in skin color can result from damage to the skin. Whether it be a burn, bad breakout, infection or other injuries to the skin.
How can I improve the look of my skin discoloration?
- Retinol: Products with retinol can help reduce the appearance of dark spots on the skin over time with continued use. The ingredient is powerful and can also make skin more sensitive to sunlight. When using retinol on your skin be sure to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen frequently to protect it.
- Glycolic acid: Regular exfoliation of the skin can also help to reduce the appearance of dark spots. Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that’s derived from sugar can which gently exfoliates skin.
These are options but your best bet is to see your dermatologist for a thorough examination to determine what is best for you.
How can I spot the difference between freckles and dark spots?
They can look practically identical but a good rule of thumb is that freckles when exposed to the sun can usually darken or even fade over time. Dark spots are also from the sun but usually larger in size and unchanging. If you need help deferentiating the difference in spots on your body it’s best to see your dermatologist.