Age spots are flat pigmented spots that tend to typically appear on areas of the body that are most exposed to the sun such as the face, neck, shoulders, arms, and the back of hands. They come in different sizes ranging from a tiny dot to the size of a coin and can also appear in clusters. Age spots can vary in colour including light and dark brown, gray, and black. Age spots are usually accompanied by other forms of sun damage such as dry, rough patches of skin, deep wrinkles, and skin that appears thinner and almost transparent-like. Most often, age spots will begin to appear around the age of 40 and more commonly affect people with lighter skin tones.
Reasons to consult a doctor
Besides the aesthetic damage that age spots cause, they are not physiologically harmful or painful. However, if you notice the following changes occur you should visit your doctor to have the spot checked out.
• The spot begins to suddenly change in shape
• Changes in texture
• Has an irregular edge
• The spot becomes darker in appearance or has an odd combination of colors
• It suddenly increases in size
If you notice any of these changes, it is important to consult with your doctor to have the spot evaluated to make sure it is not a sign of cancer. If there is a reason to be concerned, your doctor can further refer you to a dermatologist who will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis.