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Aging spots - should you be concerned?

Age spot concerns

Information

Aging spots, also called liver spots, are very common. They are most often not a cause for worry. They typically develop in people with fair complexions, but people with darker skin can also get them.

Aging spots are flat and oval and tan, brown, or black marks. They appear on skin that has been the most exposed to sun over the years, such as the backs of hands, tops of feet, face, shoulders, and upper back.

Always let your health care provider know if you have any new or unusual spots, and have them checked. Skin cancers may have many different appearances. Spots or sores related to skin cancers can be:

  • Small, shiny, or waxy
  • Scaly and rough
  • Firm and red
  • Crusty or bleeding

Skin cancers can also have other features.

References

Hosler GA, Patterson JW. Lentigines, nevi, and melanomas. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 32.

James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Melanocytic nevi and neoplasms. In: James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 30.

    • Changes in skin with age

      Changes in skin with age - illustration

      Liver spots or age spots are a type of skin change that are associated with aging. The increased pigmentation may be brought on by exposure to sun, or other forms of ultraviolet light, or other unknown causes.

      Changes in skin with age

      illustration

    • Aging spots

      Aging spots - illustration

      Aging spots occur on the skin as a result of age and sun exposure.

      Aging spots

      illustration

      • Changes in skin with age

        Changes in skin with age - illustration

        Liver spots or age spots are a type of skin change that are associated with aging. The increased pigmentation may be brought on by exposure to sun, or other forms of ultraviolet light, or other unknown causes.

        Changes in skin with age

        illustration

      • Aging spots

        Aging spots - illustration

        Aging spots occur on the skin as a result of age and sun exposure.

        Aging spots

        illustration

      Review Date: 5/14/2017

      Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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