After the going to the beach all summer and soaking in the sun, it is not a surprise to see a couple of sun spots on the skin. Or are they age spots? Contrary to popular belief, age spots are not different than sun spots. In fact, both terms describe a common hyperpigmentation of the skin. Also called liver spots and solar lentigines, these dark pigmented spots occur when the skin produces an excess amount of melanin, the substance that gives the skin its color. These spots have been associated with age because they tend to appear most frequently in older individuals, often emerging after the age of 40.
What causes age spots?
Age spots are very common, particularly in those with fair skin or who have a history of excessive sun exposure or tanning bed use. Primarily caused by sun exposure (ultraviolet radiation), age spots most often arise on the face, hands and other places that are subjected to UV light on a daily basis.
Although age spots are not dangerous, they may indicate that you are spending too much time in the sun. You may not only be subjecting your skin to premature aging, but also may be increasing your risk of developing skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer every year in the U.S.
How can you prevent age spots?
The best way to prevent age spots is to limit sun your exposure:
- Protect your skin daily with sunscreen (SPF 30 and above) and do not sunbathe
- Stay out of the sun when its rays are the strongest (from 10 am to 3 pm)
- Wear a hat or UV-blocking clothing to shade and cover the skin
Treatment for Age Spots at the New York Cosmetic, Skin & Laser Surgery Center
Age spots can make your face and hands seem more weathered, affecting your self-confidence. Fortunately, there several treatments available to improve the skin tone. Depending on your skin type and the extent of your pigmentation, Dr. Cameron Rokhsar can recommend the most effective way to lighten your age spots and remove summer sun damage. Contact Dr. Rokhsar at his New York City office for a consultation.