Age spots are one of the most common ‘good lesions.’
What are the clinical features?
Age spots are small, flat, brown (often light brown) areas on the skin with a well-defined and often irregular border and can vary from freckle size to about 1/2 inch.
Age spots appear on your skin in areas prone to prolonged exposure to the sun, such as:
- Upper back/chest
How do I know it’s an age spot and not a mole?
- New moles won’t develop when you are over 40, while age spots increase in number with age.
- Moles are slightly raised while age spots a flat.
- Brown moles are darker than age spots.
- Age spot has a uniform colour.
- Age spots have very well-defined borders and are traceable with a fine-tipped pen.
I’m just 20 years of age and have lots of these!
There are other types of lentigo other than solar lentigo. The simple lentigo, for example, is a lentigo that occurs in a large number of people with light skin or red hair.
Simple lentigo develops in childhood or as a young adult and reduces as you get older. They are smaller than solar lentigo and are around 3-5mm in diameter. Unlike solar lentigo, simple lentigo may occur on any part of the body and are not sun-induced.
Gallery of Age Spots
Please click on the images for details.
It is not necessary to treat age spots since they are not dangerous and do not pose any health concerns. However, some people may wish to remove age spots for cosmetic reasons.
The ‘best’ cosmetic treatment of age spots depends on the number and size of lesions, location, and cost. There are 2 types of treatment options for age spots: Creams and lotions, which are required to be applied over a prolonged time or cosmetic procedures that tend to work faster but are more costly.
The surgical treatments available for age spots include:
- Laser or IPL (Intense pulsed light) emits a series of light waves that pass through the skin and target melanin in the affected area to destroy or break up the spots.
- Chemical peels, in which the outer layer of skin is removed to allow new skin to grow
- Freezing treatment (Cryotherapy), where liquid nitrogen is used to freeze individual age spots
If you are considering surgical treatment, consult with your doctor about the best option for you.
The only way to prevent sunspots is to limit prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays.
- It is best to avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest and most damaging.
- Apply sunscreen before going outdoors, even on overcast days.
- Reapply sunscreen regularly as directed.
- Choose cosmetics with an SPF.
- Dress in protective clothing, like a hat with a wide brim and a long-sleeved shirt.
- Protect the delicate skin around your eyes by wearing sunglasses.