Although age spots are fairly common among senior citizens, and most are harmless, learning more about the causes, treatment, prevention, and signs of abnormal age spots is important for both seniors and their caregivers in New Hampshire. Read on to learn more.
Causes of Age Spots
Age spots are the result of years of sun exposure. The sun increases the production of melanin, which helps create a tan. Frequent, prolonged sun exposure can cause the melanin to clump, which produces flat, brown, tan, or black spots on the face, hands, arms, and shoulders.
Normal vs. Abnormal Age Spots
Age spots can be difficult to differentiate from more serious conditions like skin cancer. The following are warning signs that a mole or spot may be more than a just an age spot:
• Asymmetry — If you draw an imaginary line down the middle of the spot and the two halves do not appear the same, get this spot checked.
• Border — A growth or spot with a ragged or irregular border is considered suspicious.
• Color — Spots with more than one color, that change color, or that are especially dark should be examined by a doctor.
• Diameter — Spots larger than a pencil eraser should be examined by a doctor.
• Evolution — You should encourage your loved one to see a doctor if the spot changes over time, bleeds, itches, or becomes painful.
How to Prevent Age Spots
The best way to prevent age spots is to use sunscreen with at least SPF 30, wear hats and tightly woven clothing to protect the face, arms, and legs from the sun’s rays, and avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm when the rays are the strongest.
Treatments for Age Spots
Over-the-counter creams containing hydroquinone, kojic acid, or glycolic acid can reduce the appearance of some age spots. In the case of darker age spots, a doctor may prescribe prescription bleaching creams, laser or cryotherapy, chemical peels, or dermabrasion.
If you’d like to learn more about senior health, turn to the dedicated staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care in New Hampshire. We make senior safety and wellbeing our top priority, offer flexible care schedules, and never require long-term contracts. For more information, please call (603) 471-3004 and request a free in-home consultation.