During the whole life you're exposed to sunlight to a greater or lesser extent. In addition to this, some of us use tanning lamps and beds to make the skin a bit darker.
Long-term exposure to ultraviolet triggers production of chemical melanin in the pigment cells, leading to formation of so-called age spots (solar lentigo).
These dark patches are sometimes called liver spots, even though they don't have correlation with liver functioning.
In vast majority of cases these spots appear on the face, shoulders, back of the hands, upper back and other parts of the body, often exposed to sun rays.
They usually look like flat dark-colored areas, which don't differ in texture from the rest of the body's skin and don't cause any pain or discomfort.
Everybody can get solar lentigines, regardless of the sex, race or age. However, it was found that people over the age of 40 are much more likely to have age spots.
Although these dark patches are usually harmless, they can sometimes look like melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.
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It's worth visiting your doctor and getting examined, if you've noticed new darkly-pigmented moles with uneven edges and unusual coloration. Malignant spots can increase in size and may be accompanied by itching, easy bleeding and redness of surrounding tissues.
Skin biopsy is a test, which can help discern benign age spot from cancerous formation. This diagnostic method is done in physician's office with use of local anesthesia. Medical professional would take tiny piece of your skin to make microscopic analysis.
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Age spots don't require any treatment, as usual. However people often want to lighten them or remove at all because of cosmetic unattractiveness.
There is wide variety of prescription and over-the-counter bleaching creams, which can fade liver spots in the course of several months. These medications commonly contain hydroquinone with or without steroids and retinoids.
If you've decided to get this treatment, you also need to use sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.
Medical specialists can also recommend you some procedures, like laser therapy, freezing, dermabrasion and chemical peel to get rid of age spots. Like all medical procedures, they have certain risks and side effects. So, you should weigh the pros and cons before making a decision about getting treatment for solar lentigo.
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