Age spots - also commonly referred to as liver spots - can be gray, brown or black and usually occur on the hands, face, arms and shoulders. Areas that are often exposed to the sun, in other words, are the most likely to have age spots. Older people are far likelier to experience this problem, and many people spend a great deal of time trying to find ways to minimize or reduce the problem.
When it comes to age spots, prevention is usually the most effective means of keeping them at bay. People should try to avoid long term exposure to the sun, and should try to use sunscreen whenever possible. Once age spots have occurred, they are a bit more difficult to eliminate. Skin bleaching is the most common way of handling this condition, but the results can vary considerably.
In addition to skin bleaching or lightening, people often turn to various types of chemical peels to remove the outermost layers of the skin. This is usually where age spots originate; they don't usually form deep within the skin, therefore peels and procedures of that nature can be effective. The cost of using these types of techniques can vary considerably ($200 to $800), and multiple treatments are usually required. Side effects are generally mild and may include skin irritation and sensitivity.
However, less invasive treatments for age spots do exist. Specially formulated washes and lotions can be applied to the damaged skin, encouraging it to regenerate without the unsightly spots. Patients should consult with a cosmetic dermatologist or their doctor to determine the best course of action, and to decide whether a peel or a simple lotion would work best in their individual case. Age spots are not inherently dangerous, but unusually shaped or growing spots should be looked at by a doctor to rule out skin cancer.
To learn more about age spots and what type of treatment is right for you, contact one of DermaNetwork's medspas or cosmetic dermatologists in your area.