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What are Sunspots?

Sunspots (also known as “age spots,” “solar lentigines,” or “liver spots,” although they have nothing to do with the liver) are caused by accumulative sun damage over the years. They can appear on the hands, arms, face, shins, and anywhere that has had excessive sun exposure. Sunspots are characterized by flat brown lesions that can be of different sizes. They can also merge together, causing them to be more obvious. 

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Who is Likely to Develop Sunspots?

  • Those with light skin
  • Adults older than 50 
  • Those with a history of frequent or intense sun exposure or sunburns
  • Younger individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun
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What Causes Sunspots?

Sunspots develop from overactive pigment cells. UV light accelerates the production of melanin, and sunspots occur when the melanin becomes clumped or is overproduced. This can also happen as a result of tanning in a tanning bed. 

Preventing Sunspots: Limiting UV Exposure 

  • Be aware that UV rays are most intense between 10 AM and 3 PM, and plan accordingly. 
  • Be vigilant with sunscreen. Apply sunscreen that is the best match for your skin type 15-30 minutes before going outside. 
  • Re-apply sunscreen every two hours, and immediately after going into the water or sweating.
  • Wear dark or brightly colored clothing that is tightly woven and covers your arms and legs.
  • Wear a wide-brim hat as opposed to a baseball hat or sun visor. Make sure the hat is tightly woven.
  • Look into wearing clothing that is made specifically for sun protection. 
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When to Visit a Dermatologist

Although age spots are not dangerous, if a lesion starts to change or become painful, visit a dermatologist. Changes may include the lesion turning black, getting bigger, taking on an irregular border, changing colors, or bleeding. 

Treatment for Sunspots

Why Choose Greco Dermatology?

Greco Dermatology is a premier and comprehensive skin cancer center focusing on the surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer and suspicious lesions. Founded by double board-certified dermatologist Joseph F. Greco, M.D., we provide individualized care, cutting-edge therapies, and warm, caring, fun personalities in our bedside manner. Dr. Greco served as Director of UCLA Santa Monica Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery for 12 years, and has also been recognized annually as a SuperDoctor® in Southern California (2016-2022) as well as a TopDoctor® in Los Angeles in 2018.

Our goal is to boost your Skin IQ through education on sun protection strategies to minimize the risks of chronic sun exposure. When you work with us, you will learn daily skin care regimens, methods to avoid harmful UV rays, tips on sunscreen application, oral therapies to lessen the risk of skin cancer, self-skin exams, and much more. You will have a new outlook on your skin with a clear plan for sun protection and skincare. You will feel extremely comfortable in this care, and confident that you have a team behind you and available whenever you need.

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