Age spots


Age spots, also known as sunspots, liver spots, or solar lentigines, are small, flat, dark areas that appear on the skin, typically on areas exposed to the sun like the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. While they are more common in adults over 50, younger individuals can develop them with prolonged sun exposure.

These spots may resemble cancerous growths, but true age spots usually don’t require treatment. Instead, they indicate significant sun exposure, serving as the skin’s natural response to protect itself from further damage. For cosmetic reasons, individuals may opt to lighten or remove age spots.

To prevent age spots, it is advisable to use sunscreen regularly and minimize sun exposure. This proactive approach can contribute to maintaining healthier and more youthful-looking skin.


Liver spots, which may manifest on your face, hands, neck, or arms, are typically dark brown or tan. They can group together in a patch resembling freckles, presenting as flat, circular, or oval patches ranging in size from that of a freckle to about half an inch (13 millimeters) wide. These spots don’t induce physical discomfort like pain or itching; their primary impact is on appearance.


Age spots result from overactive pigment cells, with ultraviolet (UV) light accelerating melanin production, the natural pigment responsible for skin color. These spots emerge on sun-exposed skin over the years when melanin becomes clumped or produced in elevated concentrations. Additionally, the use of commercial tanning lamps and beds can contribute to the formation of age spots.

Risk factors

Several factors may contribute to one’s risk of developing age spots, such as:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Long term sun exposure
  • Extensive history of sunburns
  • Having light-colored skin
  • Use of tanning beds