Age spots can be visible as marks on the skin surface that are black, brown, or gray in color. Age spots can vary from the size of a freckle to larger than a centimeter across. Age spots may be visible either in a cluster or alone. Age spots are also called liver spots, and more technically, solar lentigines or sun spots. As this last term denotes, sun spots are usually caused by exposure to the damaging radiation of sun. Hence, sun spots generally can be seen on areas of the body that have received lengthened exposure to the sun, such as the arms, hands, face, and shoulders. Liver spots are most common to occur in people ages 40 and over. However, the possibility of liver spots to occur in younger people is also there depending on the amount of sun exposure received over a period of time.
Age spots characteristically build up in people with a fair complexion. However, there are also incidents of age spots in those with darker skin. To be able to determine age spots from other skin conditions, one should know how age spots look like. Age spots are flat, oval areas of noticeably greater than before pigmentation. Age spots are typically brown, black, or gray. They crop up on skin that has had the most sun exposure over time, such as the shoulders and upper back, backs of hands, tops of feet, face, etc. Age spots measure from freckle-size to more than a centimeter in diameter and can group together, making them more noticeable and obvious.
Frequently, sun spots can go along with other signs of sun damage. These include deep wrinkles; dry and rough skin; fine red veins on cheeks, nose, and ears; and, skin that is thinner and more translucent-looking.
Age spots are generally risk-free; hence do not require medical attention. Nevertheless, you may still seek doctor’s advice because you may not like how age spots make your skin unsightly. Moreover, spots that are dark or have changed appearance should be evaluated because these can be signs of skin cancer.
Consulting a professional is advisable if a person notices skin irregularities. A dermatologist can confirm if a mark on the skin is an age spot, or if the spot is a more severe mark. A medical professional may carry out a biopsy of an age spot to eradicate the possibility of cancer. A biopsy is a procedure that involves the removal and testing of a small piece of the skin where the age spot has developed.
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