Health And Lifestyle For The Over 50s

Bothered by Age Spots? There is a Way You Can Reduce Their Appearance!


These days, thankfully, most women are fairly comfortable discussing wrinkles. However, age spots are less frequently talked about, which is surprising, given how common they are.

In fact, according to a survey conducted by Boots’ cosmetic brand, No 7, 36% of women are bothered by their age spots. Interestingly, of the 1,000 women surveyed, most also thought that there was little they could do to reduce the appearance of these tell-tale signs of aging.

What Are Age Spots Exactly?
Age spots, which are also often called liver spots, are patches of colour which appear on the face, hands, arms or shoulders. They vary considerably in colour and size. Some are a faint tan colour, others almost black. They’re very common in those over the age of 50.

Age spots appear due to exposure to the sun’s rays, which is why they often appear in areas that are regularly exposed to the sunlight. The pigment contained in the epidermis that gives your skin its colour is called melanin. Repeated over-exposure to UV light speeds up the production of melanin, which makes the skin darker in the affected area.

The most effective way to prevent age spots is to protect the skin using sunscreen or by covering up. However, for many women, these age spots have already formed and prevention is no longer an option.

Should You be Concerned by Your Age Spots?
In most cases, age spots are not considered a threat to health. However, as with any form of skin damage, it’s important to monitor them carefully. If you notice any of the following, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your GP.

  • Dark pigmentation
  • Rapid growth
  • Irregular shape
  • Mottled / varied colour
  • Itchiness or tenderness
  • Bleeding

Getting Rid of Age Spots
If you feel particularly self-conscious about your age spots, there are a variety of treatments you can have to reduce or even get rid of them entirely.

  • Intense Pulsed Light treatment is widely available at a number of cosmetic clinics and surgeries. It uses light to disperse and break down the pigmentation in the skin.
  • Bleaching cream. Available only on prescription, bleaching creams can be used to lighten the affected skin. They can only be used for 12 weeks at a time.

It’s important to be aware that neither of these are pain-free, though both have good rates of success. If your age spots aren’t so noticeable, you may prefer using cosmetics to cover up your age spots instead. Many cosmetics brands have specific products, designed to reduce the appearance of discoloured skin.

Speaking to Your GP
If you are concerned about your age spots for any reason, it’s important to book an appointment with your doctor, who will undertake a visual examination. If they are concerned, you may be referred for a skin biopsy, to ensure that the age spots aren’t a sign of a more serious medical condition.

However, in most cases, age spots are entirely harmless, and there are ways to remove or cover them up if you feel self-conscious about their appearance.