Age spots are just one of many different types of brown spots. Age spots are caused by the sun beating down on the skin’s pigment cells year after year to the point where it actually breaks the pigment cells, and makes the pigment cells make just too much brown pigment so you get age spots. That’s all your age spots are. Age spots are very special brown spots for three different reasons. First, they are so, so common, especially on the back of the hands, on the face, on the top of the shoulders, and on the top of the chest. Second, they are never dangerous. Even though these are brown spots, these brown spots on your skin never become skin cancers, they never become melanomas, and third, they are so easy to treat.
Age spots have two other names. They are called sun spots which is accurate, that’s correct, but they’re also called liver spots because people used to think that liver disease caused these spots and liver disease has nothing to do with it. The name age spots has stuck simply because older people tend to get age spots, whether older means in your 30s or in your 60s, but the longer you’ve been alive, the more sun you’ve had, the more opportunity the sun has had to break the pigment cells and cause the brown discoloration. The best way to treat age spots is with lasers, and there are several types of lasers that treat them. They all have in common that they cause some purple discoloration for up to seven days on the face and up to 14 days on other parts of your body but, also all of them involve no cutting, no needles, no pain, and they always all work the first time, every time. Having your age spots removed with them, of course, doesn’t prevent you from getting other age spots years later. There is a laser-like device called intense pulse light or IPL and IPL treatments don’t cause any visual downtime. They don’t cause any purple discoloration, but they also don’t work the first time, every time. So you may need to have 2 or 3 treatments with IPL. For people who either don’t have access to laser treatments or choose not to have laser treatments, there are topical treatments which take several months to work and they may not lighten the spots as well as lasers, but they cause a significant improvement in age spots. These topical treatments involve exfoliants like glycolic acid and salicylic acid and also topical bleaches like hydroquinone and, after treatment of your age spots with these topical treatments, you still get very good significant lightening of the spots. So, if you have age spots that you’d like to eliminate, see your dermatologist or use products containing exfoliants and bleaches.