Age is one of the key factors behind the formation of dark spots on the skin. In terms of the causes, there are two categories of age spots:
- Age spots, also called lentigines seniles, are caused by the accumulation of a yellowish substance known as 'age pigment' or lipofuscin in the skin. This may result in patches of lighter discoloration appearing on the surface of the skin. While aging is considered the main cause, factors such as UV rays and oxidative stress can accelerate this process.
- Sun spots are a result of a localized increase in the formation of melanin, which determines the color of your skin, hair, and eyes. Melanocytes create more melanin to shield the skin from damaging UV rays when our skin is exposed to the sun. This can lead to an accumulation of melanin in certain areas, causing darker spots that are often associated with sun damage or age.
Are age spots dangerous?
Age spots are harmless cosmetic phenomena that appear on the skin over time. However, regular checkups are very important to prevent melanoma. If you see irregularly shaped, dark, bulging, itchy, or bleeding spots on your skin, be sure to see a dermatologist.
Age spots mainly appear on the face and hands
One of the main causes of age spots is prolonged exposure to the sun, so the places where they appear on the skin tell the story of your life. The most common areas are the backs of the hands and the face, as these are the least covered. But your job, the sports you play, or even where you live and your cultural habits can influence where your age spots appear.