Age Spots are often used to describe two differing conditions: Sun Spots, and Seborrheic Keratosis. Sun spots are blemishes on the skin due to sun exposure and aging, but are smooth. Seborrheic keratoses are rough, bumpy growths that can resemble warts, and are usually brown or black. Age Spots, for the purposes of this site, refer to Seborrheic Keratoses.
What are Age Spots?
Age Spots are common non-contagious skin growths that can resemble warts. They usually begin to develop at around age 30 in those that are predisposed. It is a very common skin growth, and a large number of people will have had at least one age spot by the time that they are 70. They can vary widely in size, and are usually brown or black, and appear waxy. The main distinguishing feature of Age Spots is their "stuck-on" appearance, and their bumpy texture. Often a horny pearl or multiple tiny cysts can be identified if looked at closely.
Age spots are painless and benign growths that do not pose any health hazards. As such, if properly diagnosed, they do not require any treatment. Age spots can become itchy or irritated by clothing. Its appearance can resemble other skin problems that may be problematic, so if you are unsure, it is always better to see a dermatologist, however. If they are a cosmetic problem, they can be removed as an elective procedure.
Some key identifying features include:
- Usually brown or black
- Oval or round
- "Stuck-on appearance"
- Often elevated and can be felt by touch
- Common after the age of 30
- Painless, although they can itch if irritated
- Can grow larger and thicker over time
- Often grow on the face or the trunk area
What causes Age Spots?
The exact cause of age spots is still unknown. There appears to a strong genetic component as it tends to run in families. In some rare cases, an underlying disease may cause multiple age spots to suddenly grow. If you notice a sudden emergence of multiple age spots, you should visit a doctor to make sure that it is not a symptom of another problem.