It doesn’t matter that age spots are not caused by aging. Almost everyone thinks they are and thus they have become, by association, indelibly linked to aging.
Facial age spots often cause emotional concerns because they may be viewed as unsightly or unhealthy. Most age spots are harmless though unusual ones should be checked by a physician.
Life in the Sun
Age spots are actually caused by your skin being exposed to the sun. Those of us who have lived longer have had more sun exposure and therefore the brown age spots, or sun spots, are more prevalent with the elderly.
Our skin is protected from the sun’s ultraviolet rays by melanin pigment in our skin cells. The pigment absorbs sunlight. As we age, our skin cells often overproduce the pigment which then forms small brown spots on our skin. These spots are either age spots (solar lentigines) or freckles (ephiledes). People with fair complexions often develop ephiledes early in life.
Another folk term for age spots is “liver spots” but, of course, the spots have nothing to do with the liver. No matter what you call them, age spots appear most often on the hands, neck, arms and face because these areas suffer most exposure to the sun.
Despite the belief of the youth culture, tanning actually damages the skin and will likely lead to age spots in the future.