Age Spots, Sun Spots & Liver Spots

By: Sara Kitch

If you have ever found a strange blemish on your skin, you know how scary and confusing the experience can be. Especially when you can't get a straight answer out of anyone ("this a liver spot reaction"! "oh, yeah, my doctor says they're called age spots!...etc.).
It's easy to get confused about sun spots, age spots and liver spots because these terms are just different ways to refer to the same thing. Still, the question remains: how do I get rid of these spots?
Know how to identify sun spots on-site
Sun spots, age spots or liver spots - also refered to as senile/solar lentigines or lentigos - are small freckle-like spots, usually brown or redish, that are most commonly found on exposed areas of the body like the face, hands and shoulders. Liver spots range in color and can even be blackish - something that depends on the individual case and skin tone. Sun spots are essentially pigments in the skin that have been damaged by the sun, causing the skin to look aged and/or worn.
Concerns about sun spots are mostly cosmetic, because the majority of them are not a health threat. However, average person's eye cannot distinguish skin cancer from harmless dark spots. It is therefore of vital concern that you see a dermatologist to ensure that any sun spots you may have are not cancerous.
Why do sun spots occur?
Sun spots can result from just one instance of over-exposure to the sun. Over-pigmentation occurs when the skin's melanocytes - cells located in the epidermis - begin to produce pigments in excess, following too much sun. Melanocytes are the skin cell components responsible for darkening the skin during and after sun bathing.
When your skin becomes over-exposed to the sun, melanocytes can malfunction and produce too much melanin pigment. The excessive amount of melanin leads to age spots and sometimes melasma.
How can I get rid of sun spots?
Sun and age spots are mostly removed using simple but expensive medical and cosmetic procedures, or special aging skin care products. People interested in skin renovation should investigate the different types of skin renovation programs available. The most common age spot remover methods are Microdermabrasion, Bleaching Creams, Laser Surgery and Chemical Peels.

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