Sun Spots, Age Spots & Liver Spots

If you have been noticing small brown specks or spots on your skin and have been wondering if they are sun spots, age spots or liver spots, they are all different names for what is essentially the same thing. The reason they are often referred to as age spots is because they tend to occur more frequently as we age, particularly when you reach over 40, but they can occur at any age. Exposure to the sun is a major factor in causing these spots, especially in people with fair skin.

Although these spots can be precancerous lesions, they are usually quite harmless. Many people decide to have them removed for cosmetic reasons. It is important to keep an eye on spots that look darker or have changed their appearance, since these can be signs of the skin cancer called melanoma, which can be a very serious form of the disease.

Here are some signs to watch for that require a doctor’s immediate attention:

  • If the spot is dark, itchy, red, or tender
  • If it has strange coloration
  • If it has an irregular, haphazard border
  • If it appears to be growing rapidly

Your doctor will do a visual inspection of the spots and any that look suspicious may require a skin biopsy. This procedure simply involves taking a tiny piece of skin from the spot for microscopic inspection. It can often be done in the doctor’s office with just a local anesthetic.

Treatments to eliminate age spots can include medications, laser therapy, pulsed light therapy, freezing, and chemical peels. Dermabrasion is also used to remove the surface layer of skin so a new layer of skin can grow. Discuss your options with your dermatologist.

Dr. Juan Vaillant of Old Bridge Dermatology has been treating patients for hair, skin, and nail problems for over 30 years, and has the extensive background needed to help address a variety of dermatological issues. Dr. Vaillant has successfully treated acne, eczema, dandruff, hair loss, psoriasis, and nail fungus. If you are looking for an amiable, highly skilled dermatologist, call our office in Old Bridge, NJ at (732) 679-0222 and make an appointment.