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Age Spots (Liver Spots): Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Dec 4, 2023

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Causes Of Age Spots

Symptoms Of Age Spots

Risk Factors Of Age Spots

Diagnosis Of Age Spots

Treatment Of Age Spots

Prevention Of Age Spots

Age Spots (Liver Spots)

Age spots are tiny, flat, black spots on the skin. They appear on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms, and their sizes vary. Age spots are sometimes known as liver spots, sunspots, or solar lentigines. Age spots can appear in younger people who spend a lot of time in the sun, though they are more common in those over 50.

 Age spots could look like cancerous growths. True age spots are a sign of prolonged sun exposure and your skin's attempt to protect itself from further sun damage, even though they don't need to be treated. They can be removed or made lighter for aesthetic reasons.

Applying sunscreen on a regular basis can help avoid age spots.

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Causes Of Age Spots

Age spots are the result of hyperactive pigment cells. When melanin builds up or is created in excess on skin that has been exposed to the sun for years, age spots appear.

Moreover, using commercial tanning beds and lamps can result in age spots.

Symptoms Of Age Spots

Age spots can affect any skin type, but they tend to appear more commonly in adults with lighter skin. Unlike freckles, which are common in children and disappear when exposed to the sun, age spots are permanent.

Age Spots are :

  • Are flat, oval-shaped areas with darker pigmentation.
  • Are frequently tan to dark brown.
  • Occur on skin parts that have been exposed to the most sun over time, such as the upper back, shoulders, backs of hands, and tops of feet.
  • Range in diameter from a freckle's size to about 13 millimeters (1/2 inch).
  • Can gather, making them more noticeable

Also Read: Heat Rash: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Risk Factors Of Age Spots

Age spots could show up more often if you:

  • Have fair skin
  • Have experienced sunburn in the past or frequent, intense sun exposure

Diagnosis Of Age Spots

Age spots diagnosis may include:

  • Visual evaluation: Usually, a quick glance at your skin is all your doctor needs to diagnose age spots. It's critical to distinguish age spots from other skin conditions since they need different treatments, and making the wrong decision could make other important therapy less effective.
  • Skin biopsy: Your doctor might also do a skin biopsy, which entails removing a small piece of skin for laboratory study, in addition to these procedures. This can help distinguish aging spots from other conditions, such as lentigo maligna, a type of skin cancer. In a doctor's office, a local anesthetic is usually given during a skin biopsy procedure.

Also Read: Xerosis (Dry Skin): Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Treatment Of Age Spots

If you would prefer your age spots to be less noticeable, there are techniques to lighten or erase them. Because the pigment is located at the base of the epidermis, the topmost layer of the skin, any treatment aimed at lightening the age spots must penetrate this layer.

Age-spot treatments include:

  • Medicines: If prescription bleaching creams (hydroquinone) are taken either alone or in conjunction with retinoids (tretinoin) and a mild steroid, the spots may gradually go away over several months. The therapies may result in brief burning, redness, itching, or dryness.
  • Both laser and strong pulsed light: Melanocytes, or the cells that create melanin, are eliminated by some laser and intense pulsed light therapies without causing damage to the skin's outer layer. These techniques typically require two or three sessions. Ablative (wounding) lasers remove the epidermis, or outermost layer of skin.
  • Cryotherapy: Using a cotton-tipped swab, apply liquid nitrogen to the affected region for no more than five seconds. The extra pigment is removed in this way. When the area heals, the skin appears lighter. On a small portion of the impacted areas, spray freezing is an option. The technique carries a slight risk of permanent discoloration or scarring, and it may cause temporary skin irritation.
  • Dermabrasion: In dermabrasion, the outermost layer of skin is sanded down with a brush that rotates quickly. Its skin opens up to sprout new growth. It might be necessary to repeat the procedure multiple times. 
  • Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a less aggressive technique than dermabrasion. Moderate skin flaws appear smoother after using it. It will take numerous operations spaced over several months to get mild, temporary results. You might feel a slight stinging or redness on the treated areas. Any rosacea or little red veins on your face that you already have could get worse with this treatment.
  • Chemical peeling: This procedure involves applying a chemical solution to the skin in order to remove the outermost layers of skin. Smoother, fresher skin sprouts in its place instead. Among the possible side effects are infection, scarring, and changes in skin tone. Redness may persist for several weeks. It can take more than one session to start seeing results.
  • Age spot removal procedures on the skin are usually done in a doctor's office and do not require hospitalization. The time it takes to see results varies from procedure to surgery and might range from a few weeks to many months.

When you go outside after treatment, you need to wear protective clothing and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least thirty.

Because age spot treatments are regarded as cosmetic operations, insurance normally does not cover them. Additionally, as the procedures could have unfavorable effects, thoroughly weigh your options with a doctor who specializes in skin problems (dermatologist). Furthermore, make sure your dermatologist has had specific training and experience in the approach you are considering.

Also Read: Lip Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Prevention Of Age Spots

Reduce your sun exposure by following these tips to help prevent age spots and new spots after treatment:

  • Avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m: Since the sun's rays are at their greatest later in the day, try to schedule outside activities for later in the day.
  • Put on some sunblock: Before going outside, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least thirty to thirty-five minutes. Make sure to apply a generous amount of sunscreen and reapply it every two hours, or more frequently if you are swimming or perspiring.
  • Cover up: Wear baggy clothing that covers your arms and legs, along with a wide-brimmed hat that provides more sun protection than a baseball cap or golf visor. It is a good idea to wear sun protection clothing. Look for garments branded with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 40 to 50 for the best protection.

Also Read: Pruritus: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

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