Age Spot Treatment
Part of the aging process entails that we start to see changes happening in our skin, whether we like it or not. Not only do we start to develop fine lines and wrinkles, but, perhaps more noticeably, age spots may begin to appear. Age spots are discrete and flat brown, black, or gray areas of pigment that are darker in color than the rest of the surrounding skin. This type of dark spot, also known as a liver spot or solar lentigo, develops due to frequent sun exposure. For many, age spots may induce feelings of self-consciousness and frustration, causing us to look much older than we feel. Luckily, Greenbrae Dermatology offers a host of solutions to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and sunspots so patients can look and feel like the best versions of themselves.
Over time, age spots tend to become darker, more prominent, and more numerous. More commonly affecting adults over the age of 50, sunspots can affect individuals as young as 12 years old who have neglected proper sunscreen use. For patients of any age, cosmetic treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, cryotherapy, Fraxel, and other laser resurfacing lasers are effective non-invasive solutions for reducing the appearance of age spots on your skin. If you’re frustrated by the appearance of dark spots on the skin, our board-certified dermatologist at Greenbrae Dermatology is here to help. Our dermatologist will customize a unique treatment approach that caters to your specific skin concerns and your individual aesthetic goals.
What are age spots?
Age spots, or solar lentigines, are pigmented areas of skin that vary in size. These dark spots are typically between the size of a freckle and 1/2 inch in diameter. Often, age spots develop on individuals with fair skin that have spent a considerable amount of time in the sun. Sun exposure commonly causes age spots to develop on the face, chest, arms, shoulders, and hands. Other forms of ultraviolet light exposure, such as tanning beds, may also cause age spots to form. Ultraviolet (UV) light can accelerate the production of melanin in the skin, which is a naturally occurring pigment that gives the skin its color. Age spots are often caused by overactive melanin cells, where the pigment becomes concentrated on the surface of the skin.
These dark spots range in color, from tan to dark brown, and can often group together on areas of the body which have the most sun exposure. Age spots can sometimes look very similar to skin cancer, but they are in fact harmless and do not require treatment. If any dark spots on the skin change in either size or color, it is an indication that the lesion could potentially be cancerous. In this case, you should consult with a board-certified dermatologist who can discern as to whether a lesion is an age spot or a cancerous growth.
Are age spots raised?
Age spots are not raised but are flat on the skin and darker in color than the rest of the surrounding skin. A raised dark spot on the skin is typically a Seborrheic Keratosis, which may also develop as a result of aging and sun damage, but looks similar in appearance to a mole or a wart. Seborrheic Keratosis are generally benign, like age spots. They can, however, be removed by a board-certified dermatologist for cosmetic purposes. If any dark spot on your skin, whether it be flat or raised, changes in size, color, or shape, then it may potentially be a cancerous lesion. If you notice an evolving dark spot on your skin, schedule a consultation with our board-certified dermatologist. We can perform a biopsy to determine if the area in question is skin cancer or not. Typically, dark or changing moles may be the first presentation of melanoma, malignant lentigo, or another form of skin cancer and should be promptly evaluated.
Can age spots disappear on their own?
Age spots, unlike freckles, will not disappear on their own, even if they are properly protected from sun exposure. Age spots require treatment, whether it be with topical ingredients or in-office procedures, for effective diminishment. With the help of our board-certified dermatologists, your age spots can be faded as if they were never even there to begin with. Whether your age spot treatment is removed through the use of prescription topical creams like hydroquinone or in-office cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels or laser resurfacing treatments, we have the perfect solution for you. We will customize your treatment plan to cater to your specific skin concerns, skin type, and unique aesthetic goals.
Can age spots be removed?
Thankfully, we can easily achieve an even-toned complexion and eliminate age spots through the use of tailored skincare products and the application of several non-invasive dermatological techniques. For the majority of patients, the discoloration of age spots can be significantly reduced and, in many cases, even completely removed through the use of cosmetic treatments like skin lightening creams, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing treatment sessions. Our board-certified dermatologist will review the best options with you during your consultation. Together we will create a combination of treatments and products which will produce the most optimal results for your age spot removal.