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What Causes Age Spots?

January 24, 2023 | Farah Jassawalla

As age progresses, you may witness small, flat, darkish patches forming on your skin -known as 'age spots.' Often called liver spots or sunspots, such areas develop on sun-exposed skin. They are a common skin condition, especially among those over 50.

Age spots vary in size and symmetry. However, these are differentiated from facial blemishes and freckles based on their texture and abundance of spots. These skin discolorations are not harmful and do not require treatment since they are produced by solar exposure. However, some people may opt to have them removed for enhanced looks.

Overview of Age Spots

Age spots on the skin can be any shade of brown. Dark patches vary in color depending on the person's skin color. The areas have no unpleasant sensation and possess a similar texture as the other skin.

Similar to freckles, age spots come in a wide range of sizes and can appear anywhere on the body. However, they are more common in locations that get lots of sun exposure, like the hands, face, shoulders, and arms.

You are susceptible to having age spots if you are above 50, but this doesn't mean that younger individuals can't have them. These spots are more common in people with fair skin, who have a history of severe sunburns, spend extended periods in the sun, or use sunbathing beds.

Causes of Age Spots

Unlike freckles and blemishes that can be gone with time, age spots stay on the skin forever. Hence, it is essential to know the causing factor.

Solar exposure

The main culprit behind having age spots is excessive exposure to the sun. These spots form where there is a concentration of melanin. Melanin is a pigment inside the human body responsible for the skin's color. The formation of melanin is stimulated by exposure to ultraviolet light. Sunspots can form as a result of this process in the long run.
Age spots can be exacerbated by several other aspects of your daily life, including:

Medical treatment like radioactive therapy

Since your epidermis can become extremely sensitive while undergoing radiation treatment, the specific side effects you experience may vary depending on the part of the body receiving treatment. And with time, age spots can develop on exposed skin due to cumulative sun damage and previous radiation therapy.


Sun exposure can induce age spots, but cigarette smoke is even more effective. Research indicates that these dark spots, particularly on the face, may appear due to increased melanin levels in the skin caused by smoking.

Improper diet

Modern research has linked the discrepancy in nourishment and poor eating habits to accelerated skin aging. The skin cells begin to seem dull, old, and dark manifesting age spots if you don't get enough nutrient-rich foods in your diet.

Bad sleeping habits

Many individuals find that their skin ages prematurely, becomes more wrinkled, and loses elasticity when they don't get enough good quality sleep. Since sleep deprivation impairs the skin's capacity to heal and regenerate itself, these people appear older than their actual age.


Air pollution isn't limited to major cities with heavy industry, and it may be affecting more than merely our lungs. There is mounting evidence that the pollutants we are exposed to on an everyday basis contribute to and hasten the development of dark spots on the body commonly linked with aging.


Several people are more likely to get age spots because of a genetic predisposition. In other terms, if age spots exist in your ancestry, you might be more likely to get them.


Avoiding UV rays and sun damage is the best approach to keep liver spots at bay. The proper course of action would be:

  • Use an SPF of at least 30, and apply it daily.
  • Avoid going out in the sun during peak hours.
  • Avoid UV radiation and tanning beds.
  • Wear full clothes for protection.

Differentiation of Age Spots at a Wellness Clinic

A dermatologist at a wellness clinic knows well how to distinguish between age spots, blemishes, and freckles. Generally, liver spots are wider than freckles and have a paler appearance than moles. 
Age spots range in size from the pen's tip to the diameter of a bottle cap. They crop up on the most exposed portions of your body, like your face, hands, back, arms, and shoulders.
Furthermore, these spots never fade from the body like freckles and blemishes.

Treatment of Age Spots with Online Lab Tests

Age spots can be treated if desired, although medical intervention is unnecessary. A dermatologist can provide treatments through online lab tests or perform procedures to diminish the appearance of black spots or, in some situations, altogether remove them. A dermatologist may recommend the following;

  • Lightening creams
  • Laser treatment
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Cryotherapy
  • Skin peels


Flat, dark spots on the skin are called age spots. Overexposure to the sun is their primary source and while they may be annoying, they pose no health risks or discomfort. The doctors at Cura4U can provide advice on skin-lightening creams and in-office procedures. Avoiding sun exposure can reduce the likelihood of developing age spots.

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