Age Spots: Causes & Symptoms

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You have probably noticed these flat brown or black spots known as age spots especially on the sun-exposed areas of your skin. This is why they are also called solar lentigines.

What are Age Spots?

Age spots or liver spots are the blemishes on the skin, which occur most frequently on the back, shoulder, hands, and face of the peopleThese occur due to an excess production of the skin pigment melanin and are more common in those with a fair complexion. There are many factors leading to the occurrence of age spots in people over the age of 40, but the common ones include overexposure to UV rays, increasing age, and genetics. Although these spots may look like cancerous growths, more often than not, they are harmless.


According to the American Academy of Dermatology, age spots are formed due to prolonged exposure to the sun. This causes deposition of melanin beneath the skin, which leads to the appearance of spots on the skin. Other reasons for age spots include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Consumption of stale oils
  • Faulty liver functions
  • Overexposure to ultraviolet rays from tanning beds


Age spots have many symptoms with which they can be easily identified. They are as follows:

  • The appearance of highly pigmented, flat, oval areas on the skin in black, brown and tan colors
  • Occur mostly on the skin exposed to the sun; like the back of hands, top of your feet, face, shoulders and upper back
  • Can vary in size, from as small as a freckle to half an inch. Sometimes, age spots group together and appear more prominent
  • Have the same texture as the rest of the skin and are painless


There are two ways in which an age spot can be diagnosed.

  • Visual inspection by your doctor
  • Skin biopsy

If your doctor finds anything suspicious during the visual inspection, he can suggest a lab test. For this, a sample of the affected skin area is taken for lab examination to test for cancer and other abnormalities.

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