Age spots, sun spots, and liver spots are all common names associated with the brown marks that appear on the skin usually after the age of 40. But, only one of these terms is actually related to the skin condition. Here are the facts and myths you need to know about age spots.

Myths:

Age spots and liver spots are caused by liver problems

Although age spots are also commonly referred to as liver spots, they are not actually associated with the liver.

Age Spots are a sign of skin cancer

Age spots are sometimes mistaken for skin cancer, but in fact, age spots and sun spots are not harmful and do not posses any cancerous probability. However, if you experience unusual spots on the skin and are unsure if they are age spots, it is a good idea to have a dermatologist take a look at them and determine whether the spots present a health risk or whether it is just a harmless age spot.

Age spots are signs of aging

Despite the name, age spots are not actually caused by aging, but rather a result of excessive sun exposure.

Age spots only appear after the age of 40

More commonly age spots appear after you hit 40 because around this age is when the skin starts to weaken and can no longer effectively protect you from the suns harmful effects. However, if your unprotected skin is constantly exposed to the sun, you run the risk of developing age spots sooner, even as early as in your 20s.

Facts:

People with age spots have a higher risk of developing skin cancer

Although age spots are not in themselves cancerous, they are a sign of too much exposure to the sun. If you have been exposed to enough sun to cause damage to the skin in the form of age spots, then you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. People with lighter skin and hair color are more prone to developing age spots Age spots can appear on a variety of skin tones, but are more commonly found on people with lighter skin complexions. Because fairer skin types possess a lower degree of melanin, their skin has less natural protection from the sun.

Age spots can vary in shape and size

Age spots are flat marks on the skin that can vary in size, shape, and color. Typically, age spots are brown, black, or gray in color and can be as small as a freckle or as large as quarter.

By discovering the truths and misconceptions associated with age spots, you can work to protect yourself from sun damage and help reduce your chances of developing this skin condition.