What are those age spots on my arms and hands?
Do you ever look at your hands while driving and wonder when all those brown spots suddenly popped up?
Or realize you haven’t worn a v-neck sweater in years, because the age spots on your chest will show?
Often called age spots or liver spots, these brown spots can actually be one of several things:
- Skin cancer. This is obviously the most serious. So if you have a new spot that suddenly popped up, or one that is painful, itchy, or changing color, it’s worth seeing your doctor to make sure everything is okay.
- Seborrheic keratosis. Known in the business as SKs (because really, who wants to say seborrheic several times a day?), these brown spots are usually raised and flaky. They can appear anywhere, but most commonly on the back, arms, and templess.
- Solar lentigoes. The name literally means “sun spots,” and these brown spots are caused by sun exposure over the years.
Now that we know what’s causing these annoying brown spots, how do we prevent them? As I mentioned above solar lentigoes are related to sun exposure. Wearing daily sunscreen can help prevent them. Unfortunately most of our sun exposure has happened long before we start to see these brown spots, so sunscreen can only help so much. SKs are not related to sun exposure. Some people just develop them with age, and they do seem to run in families. Unfortunately there is no way to prevent SKs.
The good news is that both SKs and solar lentigoes can be treated. SKs are usually cauterized or lasered off. Solar lentigoes are often treated with a combination of laser treatments to pull the pigment out of the skin and skin lighteners such as hydroquinone to prevent the pigmentation from coming back.
If you would like to get rid of your age spots, you’ll likely need a couple of treatments to remove what you currently have, then a touch up once a year to remove anything new. These treatments are done in the office, and have very little downtime. If you’d like to find out more, please call us for a FREE consultation.
Dr. Greer is a plastic surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. Her passion is helping moms regain their confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat using surgery, laser, Botox and fillers. Check out her website for more information, or to download a FREE copy of “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Plastic Surgery.“