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Can You Get Rid Of Age Spots?

Age spots—no one likes them, but many people have them. These skin blemishes, sometimes called solar lentigines or liver spots, are little spots that will make you look older than you are. While they’re more common in older people, anyone can get age spots, especially if they spend a lot of time outside in the sunlight.

What are Age Spots?

Age spots appear to be brown, tan, or even black spots. They’re flat, so even though they may look like strange growths, they actually aren’t growths per se. They can appear anywhere on the body, but they’re most common on the face, shoulders, arms, and hands—basically, anywhere that is exposed to a lot of sun. People who wear shorts or sandals a lot may have age spots on their feet or legs, for example.

Age spots are changes in the pigmentation of the skin; specifically, these areas have more pigmentation than the surrounding areas. They can be of any size. Many are about the size of a freckle, while the largest ones are more than a half an inch in size. They can also grow and eventually merge together, making them appear larger.

Age spots are generally harmless. However, if they are unusually dark or if they have significantly changed, you should have your doctor look at them because you could have melanoma, a type of skin cancer that needs to be dealt with. Any time an age spot becomes red, itchy, tender to the touch, or starts to bleed, see a doctor immediately.

In most cases, a visual exam is all it takes to determine if something is an age spot or not, but if there is any question, your doctor may want to do a skin biopsy.

Who is at Risk?

Those who are over age 50 are more at risk than younger people simply due to the fact that their skin has been exposed to more sunlight. However, anyone who spends a good amount of time outdoors in the sun is at a higher risk of developing age spots. Those who are fair skinned are also more likely to develop age spots.

Those who go to a tanning salon and use tanning beds may be at a higher risk of developing age spots.

Dealing with Age Spots

Because they’re harmless, you don’t have to do anything to your age spots. However, many people do find them embarrassing and don’t want to have this constant reminder that they’re aging. To that end, age spots can be dealt with cosmetically to reduce their appearance or even eliminate them altogether. Skin-bleaching treatments are available for those who want to get rid of their age spots.

However, the most effective way of dealing with these signs of aging is to avoid getting them. To that end, avoid being in the sun for long periods of time or wear sunscreen if you have to be outdoors a lot.