Doctor Ly in the Maui News

A Number of Treatments Available for Age Spots

A Number of Treatments Available for Age Spots

Age spots are also known as sun spots, liver spots, lentigos, or lentigines. These lesions are flat, tan, brown, or dark brown spots on sun- exposed skin. As people age, sun spots most commonly appear on the backs of the hands, the forearms, neck, chest, and face. Sun spots are associated with cumulative sun exposure. The pigment producing cells in the skin (called melanocytes) are activated to produce more pigment (melanin) by ultraviolet rays. While these spots are not themselves cancerous, you may be at risk for skin cancer.

Age spots increase with age and with in creased sun exposure. They are more common in people who freckle and who burn easily. The best treatment for age spots is prevention.

The key to preventing age spots is sun avoidance and daily sun screen use. For example, you won’t find age spots on your inner thigh because of minimal or no sun exposure. However, for most of us, it is too late for prevention, and there are a number of treatment options available. You can try over the counter lightening cream that has hydroquinone component to lighten these spots. Sometimes, Retin A (prescription strength) will also help. Certainly, in office medical treatments such as laser, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or prescription strength skin care regimens will yield quicker and more satisfying results.

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