Age Spots: Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options
Age—or liver—spots have a flat brown, tan, or black appearance and can range in size from a common freckle to over half an inch, as well as emerging in clusters. Whereas age spots may look like early skin cancer, they are harmless and do not require treatment unless the discoloration becomes bothersome. They can be lightened with various skin-bleaching products or removed by a dermatologist; however, the best treatment isprevention. Staying out of the sun and using sunscreen are the two best methods for prevention age spots.
Human skin has many layers, with the uppermost layer—or epidermis—containing melanin which is responsible for a person’s skin coloration. When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, melanin production increases, thus producing a tan which is the skin’s way of protecting the deeper layers from these damaging UV rays.
Although anyone can develop age spots, they are more common in people over age fifty and are most prevalent in areas that are most exposed to the sun such as one’s face, arms, shoulders, tops of feet, and hands. Individuals with fair skin and who have a history of frequent sunburns are also at a higher risk.
When to Seek Medical Care
It is time to visit doctor to rule out melanoma if the age spots:
Are very darkly pigmented
Have an irregular border
Are rapidly increasing in size
Have an odd combination of colors
Are accompanied by redness, tenderness, itching, or bleeding
There are several treatments available for age spots. They include:
Medications such as prescription strength bleaching creams, retinoids, and mild steroids
Freezing/cryotherapy in which liquid nitrogen or other freezing agent is applied to the age spots to get rid of the extra pigmentation.Dermabrasion, or sanding/planning the epidermis to remove the top layer of skin where the age spots typically reside.
Intense Pulsed Light, such as that produced by the Lumenis M22 is one of the most effective ways to reduce discoloration in skin.
At FirstCare Medical Center and Essence Medispa, Age Spots and other skin discoloration in Poughkeepsie, Highland and New Paltz is evaluated and treated using the most advanced skin treatments available. Call today 845-691-3627 or 845-691-3773.