Age Spots (Solar Lentigo, Liver Spots)

What Is It?

As you age, years of being in the sun start to add up. Age spots (also called liver spots or solar lentigo) are collections of pigment caused by exposure to the sun. Pigment is deposited as a response to injury, just like a scar is a response to a cut. The pigment collects in areas injured because of thin skin or greater sun exposure. Age spots also can be caused by bruising that leaves blood pigment behind. They are most common in people older than 55. The spots commonly appear on the hands, but they can be almost anywhere, especially sun-exposed areas, such as the face, back, arms, feet and shoulders.

Symptoms

The only symptom is the appearance of darkened spots on the skin. They do not itch and are not painful.

Diagnosis

You can diagnose age spots yourself by their appearance. If you are concerned about changes in your skin, contact your doctor. He or she can do tests to rule out other diseases.

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