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Worried About Age Spots?

Brown spots on your skin happen with age and sun exposure. There are ways to diminish their appearance – and times when the spots may signal a more serious problem. Learn more.

If you are noticing brown spots on your skin - up to an inch in diameter - you may have solar lentigos. These "age spots" are the result of years of sun exposure. Typically, they appear on the chest, face, or the back of the hands - areas of the skin that have been most exposed to the sun throughout your lifetime. The best ways to prevent age spots are to avoid too much sun exposure, and use sunscreen regularly (SPF 15 or higher). However, this won't help get rid of age spots you may already have. 

To reduce the appearance of age spots over time, see your physician or dermatologist. He or she can recommend a prescription or over-the-counter skin cream containing alpha-hydroxy or retinoic acid. If you use these, be diligent about applying sunscreen, since these creams can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun's rays. Laser treatment is also an option; while this approach is more costly, it does offer immediate results. 
Even if your age spots are not a concern, it is advisable to see a dermatologist about them. Occasionally, what appear to be age spots are identified as precancerous lesions that should be removed for medical rather than cosmetic reasons.