What Causes Sun Spots?

Sun spots go by a variety of different names. Age spots and liver spots are two other common terms used for these pesky, brown spots.  But, the proper medical term for them is “solar lentigines”. If you’re confused about what causes them, we don’t blame you! Is it sun, age or a liver problem? The answer is simple: if you have sun spots, age or liver spots, then you got them from spending time out in the sun.

laser age spot removal before

laser age spot removal after

Even if you’ve never been a sunbather, the constant, regular sun exposure we get in Southern California can make your face and the backs of your hands a likely place for them to show up. So, why do age spots tend to show up later in life? It’s a good question. The answer is that as our skin ages, it thins quite a bit. This allows many of our skin’s deeper structures to become more visible on the surface. This includes things like blood vessels and brown spots.  Rather than being buried deep in the skin, the pigmentation associated with sun spots is in the very outer layer of skin, the epidermis. They are also completely benign (non-cancerous).

If you don’t like your age spots and want them removed, you’re in luck! Class IV medical lasers are an excellent and safe treatment option to get rid of them.  These lasers can be used anywhere on the body.  Treatment is fairly quick and there is no downtime. However, if you decide to pursue laser treatment of your sun spots, then we will strongly urge you to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen each and every day as this will help keep your skin looking clear and prevent more pesky sunspots from popping up down the road.

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