The causes of age spots are largely unknown, though exposure to ultraviolet light and aging in general are triggers, according to MedlinePlus. These flat, tan, brown or black lesions occur on skin exposed to the sun. They occur most frequently on the face, backs of hands, arms and shoulders.
Age spots are harmless changes to skin pigmentation and do not require treatment unless they are a cosmetic problem, explains Mayo Clinic. Cosmetic treatments involve bleaching the spots with creams containing hydroquinone, glycolic acid or kojic acid. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, freezing and laser therapy may also be utilized depending on the size and number of age spots.
Protecting the skin from the sun is the best way to prevent age spots, notes MedlinePlus. To protect the skin, wear long-sleeved clothing, hats and sunglasses. Avoid the midday sun when the rays of the sun are strongest. Finally, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply it often and wear it year round.
Age spots are a common skin lesion. They tend to develop between the ages of 40 and 50 and are seen less frequently in younger individuals, states Mayo Clinic. They are also called liver spots or solar lentigines.