Sun spots, which are also called solar lentigines, age spots or liver spots, are dark spots that appear on the skin after prolonged exposure to UV rays. Adults over 50 are most likely to develop sun spots, but younger people who spend a lot of time out in the sun can also develop them.
What Do They Look Like?
Sun spots are flat black, brown or tan spots. They most commonly develop on those parts of the body that get a lot of exposure to the sun, like the face, back or arms.
Sun spots are caused by an excess production of melanin. The main cause is prolonged exposure to UV rays, which stimulate the production of melanin. People who spend a lot of time out in the sun are thus likely to develop sun spots. Using tanning bed or tanning lamps also increases the chances of developing sun spots. People who have fair skin and/or have a history of severe sunburns are the most likely to develop the condition.
When Should Somebody See a Doctor?
Real age spots are harmless, but they can be mistaken for the spots associated with melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Someone with sun spots should have our dermatologist check them over, especially if any of the following are true:
• The spot has an irregular border
• The spot is very dark or has an unusual combination of colors
• The spot is growing rapidly
• The spot is accompanied by redness, itchiness, bleeding or tenderness
How Can People Avoid Getting Sun Spots?
The best way to avoid getting sun spots is to reduce one’s exposure to UV rays. Thus, the patient should avoid using tanning beds or tanning lamps. They should limit their exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m team task management. and 3 p.m., for the sun’s rays are at their most intense during those hours.
Patients should also use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. They should also choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects the skin from both UVA rays and UVB rays. The patient should apply their sunscreen every two hours, and they should apply it more often if they are swimming or sweating heavily.
Patients should also wear the right type of clothing to protect themselves from the sun. They should wear hats with broad brims, and they should wear tightly-knit clothes that cover the arms and legs. Some clothes are even designed to protect people’s skin from the sun.
How Are Sun Spots Treated?
Fortunately, sun spots can be removed or covered up. There are a variety of cosmetics that can help do the latter. At Doctor’s Approach, IPL therapy and various other treatments can be used to safely and effectively remove sun spots. We have offices in Okemos, Carson City and St. Johns. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to learn more.