Age spots are considered skin blemishes, also known as ‘liver spots’. They are flat (rather than raised) brown, grey or black spots the same texture as the rest of your skin that are caused by an excess production of melanin or skin pigment.
They can occur typically on the face, the back of the hands, the shoulders, upper back and on the forearms. They are perfectly harmless and do not pose a health problem. However, not everybody likes the appearance of age spots.
If you think you have dark spots on the skin always have a doctor or dermatologist check them and confirm that they are age spots and not cancerous or some other abnormality.
Doctors aren’t certain why age spots develop, but it is generally recognised that you can actually get them regardless of age, sex or race. People who are more likely to get them though are those that are over 40 years old, fair-skinned, have a history of frequent sun exposure and those that have regularly used tanning beds.
If you’re not happy with your appearance, there are treatments available to get rid of age spots, each carrying varying degrees of effectiveness.
There are bleaching creams available which will fade the age spot over several months. However, apart from the timescale, these creams make your skin more sensitive to UV damage. And that means wearing sunscreen at all times during treatment, even on cloudy days.
Medical treatments are available. One is an intense pulsed light treatment where a range of light waves is passed through the age spot to destroy or break up the melanin.
Another is the chemical peel which removes the outer layer of skin so new unblemished skin can grow and replace the spot.
Or there’s dermabrasion, which simply smooths off the outer layers of skin that will then be naturally restored with unblemished skin cells.
Lastly, what we recommend is a procedure involving the freezing of the age spot. This is cryotherapy, which is applied using a pen-like instrument, which we use also to effect skin tag removal. It’s very quick (using 5 to 30 seconds applications) and only induces slight discomfort akin to a mild nettle sting.
Whichever procedure you opt for, always make sure you wear sunscreen after a treatment to protect your healing skin from UV damage and to prevent the reoccurrence of the spots.
If you’d like to talk to us about removing age spots, do call or drop by and discuss how we can help you.