Monday Myths: Only old people get age spots

Monday Myths: Is it true that only old people get age spots?

Age spots appear quite commonly after age 40, hardly very old by today’s standards.   Age spots, once referred to as liver spots are flat, brownish spots that usually occur in areas frequently exposed to the sun.   They are actually unrelated to liver function.  Age spots are changes in skin color that usually occur in older skin, but can also appear earlier on skin not regularly protected from the damaging rays of the sun.  The discoloration occurs most often on areas that have had the greatest sun exposure, including:

  • Backs of the hands
  • Face and Forehead
  • Forearms
  • Shoulders

Best way to get rid of age spots?   Prevention.   It’s best to prevent any sun damage to exposed skin by effectively protecting it from damaging UVA and UVB sun rays at the start.   However, age spots may be treated by several methods.   Laser and chemical treatments are generally effective.   Over-the-counter bleaching creams lighten spots, as long as further sun exposure is avoided.

Wear sunscreen and/or protective clothing, because increased sun exposure contributes to premature aging.   Most importantly, sun exposure is also the leading cause of skin cancers, representing significant risk and requiring prompt medical attention.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 90 percent of all skin cancers occur on sun-exposed skin.

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