Age spots from sun are a discoloration of the skin caused by excessive melanin. Doctors aren’t sure why they occur, but frequent exposure to harmful UV rays, coupled with natural aging, are likely to blame. Anyone at any age can experience age spots, but they do not hurt, itch, or otherwise irritate.
We’ve all seen age spots on our friends, family members, strangers, and possibly even ourselves. The flat discolored areas of skin are typically gray, brown, or black. And more often than not, they’ll be found on areas of the skin that get plenty of sun exposure. Age spots from the sun are also commonly called sun spots or liver spots. Call them what you will, they’re always unwelcome visitors.
The good news is that age spots don’t hurt, itch, or otherwise irritate. In fact, they have the same texture as the skin, so you won’t feel them when they decide to move on in. But what exactly are they and how do you know you’re dealing with an age spot and not something more serious? Great questions! So sit tight as we get to the bottom of these pesky skin spots.
What Causes Age Spots?
Age spots occur when our skin produces excessive amounts of melanin. Melanin is essentially skin pigment, and while dermatologists don’t know the exact cause of the spike in melanin, a few likely causes are good ol’ fashion skin aging, as well as exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. The exposure to the UV sources can come from either the sun or artificial UV sources such as tanning beds.
Where are Age Spots Most Commonly Found?
Age spots from the sun are often found on the face and neck, shoulders and upper back, forearms, and the backs of the hand. While anyone at any age can look in the mirror and find age spots, some are more at risk than others. For instance, those who are 40-years-old or older are more likely to experience age spots than the younger crowd (naturally). Also, those with fair skin and those who are frequently exposed to skin-damaging UV rays can experience age spots at a high rate.
As always, it’s good practice to protect yourself from the sun and to be intentional about your time exposed to UV rays in any form, natural or artificial.