Age Spots, Sun Spots, and Dark Spots
Age spots are also known as sun spots, liver spots, or solar lentigines. They are small, flat, round spots on the skin that begin to appear later in life on sun-exposed areas. They are particularly common on the face, neck, arms, and backs of the hands, usually sparing the knuckles.
Age spots are thought to be caused by years of sunlight exposure. The sun damages the pigment-producing cells in the skin (melanocytes), causing them to over-produce pigment in sun-exposed areas. The age spots may increase in size over time and sometimes join together to create larger spots. They may also resemble freckles, but are typically darker and have a more consistent color throughout.
Who is Most at Risk for Age Spots?
Age spots can affect all ages and skin types, but there are a few factors that make people particularly susceptible. As the name suggests, they are more likely to appear as people age. They also appear more often and more visibly on fair skin. They are also called “sun spots,” and are correlated with high exposure to sunlight. Although these typically affect those over 40 years old, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause them to appear on younger people’s skin as well.
Age Spot Removal and Treatment
They are benign, meaning they do not cause any harm. However, some people seek treatment because they dislike the appearance of them. There are several possible treatments for them. If you wish to remove a single age spot, our Board-Certified Dermatologists may recommend a procedure that can be performed quickly in the office. Such removal procedures include chemical peels and laser therapy.
Additionally, medical bleaching agents such as hydroquinone can be applied to the skin to make age spots fade. Although these will not remove the lesion completely, they can make it less visible. Our doctors will recommend a treatment that is best suited to your specific medical needs and personal choices. Be sure to let our Bend Dermatology team if your lesions return after your treatment.
Different Treatments and Procedures for Age Spots
Laser resurfacing is often an effective treatment option for reducing the appearance of age spots. The treated area will be smoother and the skin spots lighter in appearance. Bend Dermatology’s trained professionals offer a deep laser resurfacing particularly effective for age spots and addressing concerns with skin texture.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL is a safe, effective treatment sometimes used to help minimize discoloration caused by sun damage. It uses light to target areas of concern and has minimal downtime, though it usually requires three to four treatments to see optimal results.
Chemical peels work in a similar way to laser resurfacing. They remove the outer layers of skin, revealing fresh skin underneath. This method also leaves skin looking more homogenous and feeling smoother.
Topical creams like Hydroquinone may also help. This bleaching agent can lighten the appearance of age spots without requiring a procedure. In addition to hydroquinone, there are other topical creams you can ask our professionals about to treat age spots.
You can schedule an appointment at one of Central Oregon locations to get examined or discuss your age spots.