Age spots (Liver spot) are nothing but brown or black spots on the body. It develops mostly on the areas that get maximum exposure to the sun like face and hands and arms. Age spots are also called as solar lentigines and they are small in size developing in elderly people above 50 years. But age spots also develop on young people if their job warrants more time in the sun. Age spots are benign (harmless) and does not develop into tumor (cancerous). No treatment is required for age spots but some people use cosmetic surgery to remove them.
Age spots or liver spots are small flat black or brownish lesions that occur in the parts of the body that are overly exposed to the sunlight. You can typically develop them on the back of your hands and face and sometimes on your shoulders and arms. The size of the age spots vary from 0.5 to 1 inch and mostly it occur alone. If you see any unusual changes in your skin color or texture and lesions or spots are seen on your face you can consult your dermatologist. Age spots do not itch and are painless.
Age spots are believed to be caused by over secretion of melanin, a skin pigment. Some experts are of opinion that age spots develop due to sun exposure and aging. People who use tanning beds frequently have increased risk of getting age spots. Ultraviolet rays of the sun are the major cause of age spots. Melanin is the pigment that is found on the upper epidermis layer of the skin. When this area is overly exposed to sunlight the melanin is produced in excess thus creating a tan on that area.
Risk factors :
A person with fair complexion, a person who spends quality time in the sunlight, a person who is aged, a person with family history of skin problems due to sun exposure and a person who uses tanning beds and commercial lamps frequently have high risk for developing age spots.
It is easy to detect age spots by mere physical exam of the skin. Any expert doctor can identify black or brownish spots on the skin that is clearly different from the skin color. In case of doubt, your doctor may do a skin biopsy to test it in the lab. The doctor should be smart enough to distinguish age spots from moles or seborrheic keratoses.
Age spots do not cause any problem and hence need not be treated. But you are worried about your appearance you can remove age spots through medications and other procedures. Some methods of treatment make the age spots colorless and some other approaches are available to remove them completely. Prescription medications like retinoids are given for treating age spots. Hydroquinone is the best bleaching cream used for fading the spots. But you cannot expect results overnight and you should continue using the cream for months together to get the best outcome.
The medical treatment will be effective if you use high range of sunscreen lotion regularly. Laser therapy and light therapy are used for destroying the excess of melanin secretion. The cells that secrete melanin are destroyed using laser beam which will gradually fade the color of age spots. You need to take laser or light therapy several times for getting the desired color.
Some doctors use cryotherapy method for freezing the age spots using liquid nitrogen. It can cause mild irritation and scarring on the skin. Once the skin surface heals completely the skin will lose dark color. Dermabrasion method is used for effectively sanding down the skin surface using a brush. The outermost layer of the skin that contains age spots is removed by scrubbing. After some days, a new skin layer will develop in that area. In chemical peeling therapy mild acid solution is applied on the age spots which will eventually burn off the spots. All the above methods may require several sessions and you might not get insurance cover for these procedures, since they are done on cosmetic ground.
Pictures of Age Spots :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Age Spots
You can easily prevent getting age spots by avoiding exposure to the sun. Don’t go out when the sun rays are harsh and intense during daytime. Avoid roaming out between 10 am to 4 pm. Apply sunscreen lotion or cream with SPF factor above 30. Apply the cream liberally on your face, arms and shoulders and areas that are exposed. If you need to go out in the sun, always wear covered clothing to prevent UV exposure. Wear sunglasses and cover your head with broad hat so that your face will not receive direct sunlight.