What is an age spot?: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Dec 15, 2022 by Adhip

Age spots are tiny dark areas on the skin surface that often appear on parts of your body that have been exposed to the sun. They are sometimes called ‘sunspots’, ‘liver spots’ or ‘solar lentigines’.

Age spots are very common in adults, but younger people can also get them if they spend a lot of time in the sun.

Especially for those of us with skin that’s been exposed to the sun a lot, age spots are unavoidable. Although they look like cancerous growths, true age spots aren’t usually treated and are just another sign the skin is trying to protect itself by producing more melanin. Cosmetic reasons aside, they’re harmless.

You can prevent age spots by using sunscreen, staying indoors, and avoiding the sun.


Age spots are caused by overactive cells containing melanin – a pigment also responsible for the color of our skin. UVA light, the main source of ultraviolet radiation in the United States, causes this pigment to become clumped or mottled. The more sun exposure skin has, the greater the chances it will age and collect age spots.


The thing that’s different between a freckle and an age spot is how they react to sun exposure. Freckles typically fade with more time away from the sun and don’t last into adulthood for many people, but age spots never fade.

Age spots:

  • Are there any noticeable areas of discoloration and increased pigmentation?
  • Are usually tan to dark brown
  • Age spots are usually found on parts of the skin that have had the most sun exposure over time. Such areas include the face, knees, tops of feet and hands.
  • People can group together and make their content more noticeable


To defend against age spots, or sunspots after treatment, these tips will help you to avoid overexposure to the sun:

  • Avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.—the sun’s rays are at their most intense during this time, which can lead to discomfort, heat exhaustion or heatstroke if exposed for too long. Schedule outdoor activities at other times of the day instead

  • Apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. Sunscreen is important because it protects your skin by shielding it against sunburn-causing UV rays. Apply it a little while before going to the beach and reapply every 2 hours if you’re really active or tanning.

  • We will also give you some other sun protection tips. For example, wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat to protect your skin from the sun’s damage.

  • Consider wearing clothes with a UPF of 40-50 to prevent skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Home remedies for Age Spots

With the standard of fade creams and lotions available for purchase, lightening age spots should be a walk in the park. These products might help with age spots. When these become darker over time, and the person has to use the cream more often, this may reduce the appearance of spots. Seeing that improvements take some time and patience, you should be expecting to see results anywhere between 1 and 4 weeks

If you want to try a skin lightener, check for hydroquinone or kojic acid in the ingredients. These ingredients may irritate when used with other hydroquinone.

Aging is something that’s inevitable but you can help to minimize the appearance of age spots with makeup.

Treatment for Age spots

Skin spots like age spots are just like moles but they’re on the outside of your skin. If you notice any changes in color or texture, or if it’s black, go see a doctor

It’s best to consult a doctor right away when you notice any new skin changes, especially if it’s:

  • Is black
  • Is increasing in size
  • Has an irregular border
  • Has an unusual combination of colors
  • Is bleeding

If you’re looking to remove age spots, treatments exist that can either lighten or remove them. Since they are located in the top layer of skin, any treatment meant to make them less noticeable must penetrate all the way down to the base of your epidermis.

Age spot treatments 


Applying prescription bleaching creams (hydroquinone) either alone or with retinoids (tretinoin) and a mild steroid might gradually fade your hyperpigmentation over months. These treatments might cause temporary itching, redness, burning, or dryness

Laser and intense pulsed light therapy

Laser and intense pulsed light therapy can destroy melanin-producing cells (melanocytes) without damaging the skin’s surface. These approaches typically require two or three sessions. Wounding (ablative) lasers remove some of the age spots skin’s surface, so laser and intense pulsed light treatments are done only on areas where hair does not grow.


Freezing is the newest and coolest technology to treat spots by freezing them for 5 seconds or less. This destroys the colored pigment and it takes a while for the area to heal. When it does heal, it appears lighter. Spray freezing may be used on certain spots to reduce their appearance. It could temporarily irritate the skin and there is a small chance of permanent scars or discoloration.”


Dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that removes the outer layers of skin with a rapidly rotating brush. New skin will grow in its place, but it might not be as smooth and taut as what you had before. Possible side effects include redness, scabs and swelling.


Micro-dermabrasion is a less intrusive and more forgiving method than dermabrasion. It leaves slight surface scars with an improved appearance. You’ll need to get an initial treatment followed by monthly procedures for months to gradually get modest, temporary results. You may notice a slight redness or stinging sensation on the treated areas post-application. If you have rosacea or tiny red veins on your face, this technique could make your condition worse.

Chemical peel

Chemical peel is a method which uses a specially formulated chemical to remove the top layers of skin on your face & reveal healthy new skin underneath, which then has time to grow & re-contour. Possible side effects may include scarring, infection, and skin lightening or darkening. Fortunately, redness typically starts to fade after the first treatment and, with some additional treatments, your results might even show more quickly.


You are more likely to develop age spots if you have light skin and a history of frequent exposure to the sun, or sunburn.

Your doctor can tell if you have age spots by looking at your skin. One can differentiate these spots from other skin disorders because the treatments could differ and it might delay other important treatments. Take your time to consult with a doctor who specialized in skin conditions

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