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Are age spots a normal part of aging?

Sharine Forbes
Geriatric Medicine
Age spots are not a result of aging but rather melanin that has gathered on the upper layer of the skin. This melanin has gathered due to excessive sun exposure, thus causing damage. Age spots should actually be called "sun spots," as they are not directly correlated with aging. However, to avoid developing these spots, it is important to wear protective gear and sunscreen while out in the sun. Essentially, age spots are not a normal part of aging.
Age spots aren't necessarily a usual part of aging because not everyone gets them and they can be prevented by routine use of sunscreen. They are caused by unprotected exposure to sunlight over time, usually over many years or decades. They appear as small brown, flat spots on the face, back, hands, and feet. They are also called lentigines or liver spots, though they have nothing to do with the liver. While age spots are usually harmless, some might resemble melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. If you have brown spots on your skin and you're concerned that they might be growing, see your doctor.

Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing to safeguard your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Age spots are a normal part of aging.  They go along with the body’s gradual loss of ability to replace worn-out cells with perfect new cells.  Watch the animation to see all the effects of aging on the skin.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.