Age spots, also known as brown spots, liver spots and solar lentigines, are a common sign of aging. Flat, oval areas of pigmentation, age spots tend to appear on parts of the body, such as the face, hands, arms, shoulders and feet, that are exposed to the sun. Most common in people older than 40, they can be freckle-sized or more than a half-inch in length, and range in color from light brown to black. When age spots are grouped together, they appear even larger.
Although age spots are usually caused by accumulated exposure to the sun‘s ultraviolet (UV) light, they may also be the result of using tanning beds/lamps; trauma or injury; or genetic predisposition. People with light skin are more likely to develop age spots, as are those with a history of frequent sunburn or sun exposure.
To prevent age spots or keep them from worsening, avoiding prolonged sun exposure and regularly using a broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen is recommended. Wearing UV-blocking clothing and a broad-brimmed hat will provide additional protection.