As people age, unsightly blemishes, commonly called age spots, can appear on the face and on the back of the hands. The spots, also called lentigines, lentigos or liver spots, are sharply defined, rounded, brown or black, flat patches of skin.
Age spots occur when the top surface layer of skin expands with more pigment and develops what looks like a large freckle. One may appear by itself, or a few may be clustered together.
Some people have a hereditary predisposition to age spots. They may develop at an early age, even in childhood, though they are more common in older individuals, especially in those who have had extensive sun exposure.
Age spots are not cancerous, nor do they lead to cancer. However, on skin exposed to the sun, they may be accompanied by precancerous scaly, red elevations called actinic keratoses. Lentigenes may be treated with Intense Pulse Light (IPL), laser, chemical peels, and cryosurgery (freezing).