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Noni Health Terms

age spots

What are age spots?

Age spots, technically known as "solar lentigines," are small dark areas on your skin. These uniformly colored areas of brown or tan pigment that generally show up on the hands, chest, neck, shoulders, arms and face. These spots can be up to 1/2 inch in diameter and can group together making them more noticeable. Contrary to the name, age spots also known as liver spots are not caused by age, they are caused by UV ray exposure. Age spots are common in older adults, but younger individuals can get them too if they spend a lot of time in the sun and tanning beds.

How do you get age spots?
UV light accelerates the production of melanin (skin pigmentation). On areas of skin that have had years of prolonged UV exposure, age spots begin appear when melanin is produced in high concentrations over a small area such as your hands and face. Individuals with fair skin and who are more prone to sunburn are at higher risk for developing age spots.