Age Spots, Liver Spots, Sun Spots, – Senile or Solar Lentigo
Age spots, also called liver spots or sun spots are flat, brown or brown/black spots and patches that usually appear on the skin on sun-exposed areas of the body. They have nothing at all to do with the liver or liver function. These dark areas of pigmentation are associated with ageing and exposure to the harsh radiation of the suns UV rays.
They are caused by a build up of a yellow pigment called lipofuscin. As the skin is damaged by sunlight, this in turn damages and ages the collagen producing cells and causes the pigment to build up over the years. (Thus the name Solar Lentigo.) Sun spots or liver spots are most common on the areas that are most often exposed to the sun such as the backs of hands, arms, legs, neck, shoulders, chest and facial areas.
Age spots are, as the name suggests, generally associated with older skin. If you look after your skin by keeping out of the sun, away from sunbeds and use a high factor sun screen block you may be lucky enough to never develop age spots. However, as the majority of individuals do not do this, age spots are very common in the over 40’s, and increase in their size and amount as we age. Age spots or liver spots are not harmful and are therefore of no medical concern. They are however permanent skin changes that may affect the cosmetic appearance of the skin. The main problem with them is that the older they are the deeper they may develop into the skin. For that reason alone it is better to have them treated sooner rather than later.
Treatments for Age Spots Include:
- RF (Radio frequency surgery)
- Chemical peels