Sunspots & Sun Damage


What are Sunspots and Sun Damage?

Sunspots and sun damage, sometimes referred to as liver spots or age spots, are small flat and dark areas on the skin. They typically show up on parts of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure such as the face, hands, arms and shoulders. Most common in older people, anyone can get them if they spend too much time exposed to the sun.

Signs and Symptoms of Sunspots

Sunspots are most common in adults with light skin but they can appear on anybody. Signs of sun damage include:

  • Oval areas of darkened pigmentation
  • Typically present in areas exposed to sun such as forehead or the tops of shoulders
  • Marks that range in size from freckle-sized to 0.5 inches
  • Marks that do not fade or disappear when skin is not exposed to sun

What Causes Sunspots?

Sunspots or sun damage are caused by exposure to the UV light in the sun or in commercial tanning beds. This exposure causes the pigment cells in the skin to become overactive. Those with lighter skin tones or who have a history of sunburn or excess sun exposure are more likely to develop the condition.

How Sunspots are Treated

A combination of interventions can help in the treatment of sunspots. Prescription bleaching creams can help lighten the spots. Several treatments that remove the top layer of the skin can also help treat the condition, including chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser therapy. In some cases where individual spots are present, your dermatologist can also use cryotherapy to freeze and destroy the spot so that it scabs and falls off after several days or weeks. These procedures are outpatient procedures and performed quickly and easily at your dermatologist’s office.

Suggested Treatment Options

All cases of sunspots and sun damage are not the same, therefore we recommend seeing a specialist to help determine which treatment option is the best for you.


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