As people age, unsightly blemishes commonly called age spots can appear on the back of the hands and sometimes the face. Another upsetting change for many mature adults is the loss of smoothly contoured hands. dermatologic surgeons can improve both of these distressing conditions safely and effectively with excellent results.
Learn more about the treatment options for age spots
What are age spots?
Age spots – also called liver spots, lentigines or lentigos – are sharply defined, rounded, brown or black, flat patches of skin. The epidermis (top surface layer) is expanding with more pigment, developing what looks like a large freckle. One may appear by itself, or as a few clustered together.
Many people have a hereditary predisposition to them. While age spots may develop at an early age (even in childhood), they are more common in older people, especially those who have spent too much time in the sun.
Are age spots cancerous?
The 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 of the skin called actinic keratoses. Dark spots, which might be cancerous, may also appear to be lentigines. All of these blemishes should be evaluated by a dermatologic surgeon.
Can age spots be prevented?
Although nothing can be done about the role heredity plays, excessive exposure to the sun should be avoided – a precaution that will diminish the threat of skin cancer as well as protect your skin from sun damage. To moderate exposure, the skin should be protected by a sunscreen having a minimum SPF of 15.
How are age spots treated?
Treatment of age spots is usually performed by the dermatologic surgeon in the office or other outpatient facility. Results can be permanent if a sunscreen is used continuously after removal.
How are youthful contours restored to the hands?
The skin of the backs of the hands can be improved by a technique called microlipoinjection, a form of soft-tissue filler. The dermatologic surgeon uses a tiny syringe to remove a small amount of a patient's own fat from another part of the body, such as the buttocks or the thigh. The fat is then injected into the back of the hands and molded to restore a youthful contour.
Since one's own fatty tissue is used, there is little risk of the body's rejecting it, as can sometimes occur when a foreign substance is used. Some patients have long-lasting results; others need re-treatment periodically.