Age Spots


What Are Age Spots?

Age spots, also known as liver spots or solar lentigines, are flat, brown, or black spots that typically appear on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun over time. They are common in older adults and often appear on the face, hands, arms, shoulders, and upper back. Age spots are usually harmless and do not require medical treatment, but they can be cosmetically bothersome for some individuals.

The primary characteristic of age spots is their color, which ranges from light brown to dark brown or black. They vary in size and can be as small as a freckle or as large as half an inch in diameter. Age spots are flat and have a uniform appearance, distinguishing them from other types of skin lesions.

What Causes Age Spots?

Sun Exposure

Exposure to UV radiation from the sun is the primary risk factor for age spots. Over time, cumulative sun exposure damages the skin and increases the production of melanin, leading to the formation of age spots. People who spend a lot of time outdoors without adequate sun protection are more likely to develop age spots.


Age spots are more common in older adults, typically appearing in individuals over the age of 50. As people age, the skin becomes less able to repair itself from sun damage, making them more susceptible to developing age spots.

Skin Type

Individuals with fair skin are more prone to developing age spots than those with darker skin tones. Fair-skinned individuals have less melanin to protect their skin from UV radiation, making them more susceptible to sun damage.

History of Sunburns

A history of sunburns, especially during childhood or adolescence, increases the risk of developing age spots later in life. Sunburns cause significant damage to the skin and can contribute to the development of age-related skin changes, including age spots.

Artificial Tanning

Tanning beds and lamps emit UV radiation that can damage the skin and increase the risk of developing age spots, as well as other types of skin damage, such as wrinkles and skin cancer.