Your grandma may recognize them as liver spots. What’s liver got to do with it? These spots were once mistakenly blamed on liver disorders. Your mom may refer to them as age spots. Your doctor may describe them as solar lentigines. New, enlightened you can call them sun spots.
They’re often hard to ignore because they seem to appear on the most visible areas of your skin. But, thanks to ongoing advances in medical science and technology, sun spots are becoming increasingly easy to treat by a qualified dermatologist.
Dr. Jeffrey Fromowitz and his highly skilled team of skin care experts at Dermatology of Boca, in sunny Boca Raton, Florida, are well-versed regarding the effects that never-ending sunshine can have on your skin and how to best restore and protect its youthful appearance. Read on to find out what Dr. Fromowitz has to say about those brown spots appearing on your face, hands, shoulders, and other sun-exposed areas.
Are age spots related to my age or the sun?
Both. They’re caused by overactive pigment cells responding to the ultraviolet light in sunshine. This exposure accelerates the production of melanin, which creates color in the skin. As you age, these high concentrations of melanin can clump together and form spots on the skin that may vary in color from light tan to dark brown.
These so-called age spots most commonly occur in people over 50. But individuals in their 20s, 30s, and 40s can also develop “age spots” with prolonged and frequent exposure to the sun. So, though they’re related to sunshine, age spots do occur as your sun exposure accumulates with aging.
Will age spots turn into skin cancer?
True sun or age spots are harmless and will not develop into cancer. They tend to be flat, oval, or round spots that are visible, but not palpable. They can appear as a single, freckle-size splotch or cover a large area that’s quite noticeable.
It’s always best, however, to see your dermatologist immediately if you notice any concerning changes in your skin. These signs/symptoms include skin lesions that are:
- Darkly pigmented
- Rapidly increasing in size
- Developing an irregular border
- Unusually colored or include a combination of colors
- Accompanied by itching, redness, tenderness, or bleeding at the site
Annual skin evaluations are an important part of any wellness program, but may be especially vital when living in sun-kissed areas like Boca Raton. During a yearly exam, Dr. Fromowitz can spot sun-related damage or skin cancer changes early, when treatments are by far the most effective.
How can you get rid of sun spots?
Your great-grandma had the right idea when she tried bleach or lemon juice to lighten her liver spots. Today’s bleaching therapies include prescription-strength hydroquinone, retinoids, and sometimes a mild steroid that can noticeably lighten your brown spots in two to three months.
If you’re looking for a faster option, the most effective treatment for sun spots often depends on their number and location. Your provider at Dermatology of Boca may recommend:
- Laser or intense-pulsed therapy to break apart the melanin creating the spot, while leaving surrounding skin cells unharmed
- Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion to tackle age spots from the surface down
- Chemical peel to remove the skin layers affected by the discoloration and stimulate new, spot-free tissue growth
You can count on Dr. Fromowitz and his team of top-rated experts at Dermatology of Boca for all your skin care needs. Call to schedule an appointment today, or book your visit online.