About Age Spots and Removal Treatments at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta
Also known as sun spots, solar lentigines, liver spots or freckles, age spots occur in response to cumulative sun exposure. However, they get the name “age spots” because they usually start becoming more visible with age (commonly in the 40′s). Not to be confused with ephelides (the tan freckles that appear in the summer and disappear by winter), age spots are permanent dark areas that do not fade over time.
While they are not a health concern, some forms of skin cancer look like age spots when they first appear so it’s important to monitor any new spots. If you’ve noticed any questionable or changing skin lesions, it’s important to have them checked by a board-certified dermatologist.
• Topical Treatment– Prescribed topical creams can be used to minimize age spots but are often used in conjunction with other age spot treatments for optimal results.
• Cryosurgery– This technique uses extreme cold temperatures to destroy the excess pigment of the skin to contributing to the appearance of age spots.
• Laser Treatment– Through the Laser Institute of Georgia, laser therapy can be used to treat age spots without damaging surrounding tissue. Multiple laser treatments are typically required for maximum results.
• Chemical Peels– Using a customized combination of ingredients, chemical peels remove the outer layers of skin to allow new skin and collagen growth while minimizing dark spots.
• Microdermabrasion – Exfoliation technique used to purify the skin while stimulating circulation and collagen production. This technique is usually used in combination with other age spot removal procedures.
What causes age spots?
The skin’s surface layer is called the epidermis, and just below that is the dermis. Melanin gives the skin its color, or pigmentation. Sun exposure causes the body to produce more melanin, which is why we get tan. However, with extended sun exposure, the specialized cells (melanocytes) that produce the pigment may produce too much melanin, creating age spots. Certain people are more prone to age spots because of genetics, but most occur due to age and sun exposure.
Where do age spots appear?
Age spots can appear nearly anywhere on the body, but typically form in areas frequently exposed to the sun including the face, hands, arms, and shoulders.
How can age spots be prevented?
The best way to prevent age spots is to limit sun exposure. Since that’s not always possible, wear a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher that has UVA and UVB protection. The problem with preventing age spots is that any sun damage that’s already been accumulated earlier in life can still cause age spots. However, prevention methods will help reduce additional damage and your chances of skin cancer.