Age Spots

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.

What you need to know

  • 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. Age spots may develop at an early age, even in childhood, though they are more common in older people, especially in those who have spent too much time in the sun.
  • 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. Dark spots, which may be cancerous, may also appear to be lentigines. All of these blemishes should be evaluated by a dermatologic surgeon.

Do's and Don'ts


  • Avoid excessive sun exposure.
  • Have age spots evaluated by a doctor.



  • Smoke.

Why treat age spots?

  • Physical, emotional and social reasons for treating age spots include:
  • Improved appearance.
  • Enhanced self-esteem.
  • Promotion of better skin health.


General questions to ask before the procedure

  1. Is a doctor on site? 
  2. Is the doctor board-certified in dermatology or in another specialty with equivalent training and experience? 
  3. Was my medical history taken? 
  4. Was I given an initial evaluation to determine if the technique or procedure is appropriate for my skin type? 
  5. Did the doctor show me before-and-after photos?


Questions to ask the dermatological surgeon 

Age Spots Questionaire

  1. Which age spots procedure is the correct one for me? (What are the options?)
  2. What is the estimated cost of the procedure?
  3. How long is one appointment?
  4. How often will I need to receive treatments to treat my age spots?
  5. How far apart are the treatments?
  6. What are the common side effects or complications associated with the procedure?
  7. How can I prepare for the treatments/procedure
  8. Does the treatment hurt?
  9. What are my pain management and anesthesia options?
  10. How long is the recovery time associated with my procedure?
  11. Do you have before-and-after patient images to help to prepare me for what to expect?
  12. Will someone walk me through the process before going in for treatment?
  13. What are the risks?
  14. What should I expect after the procedure is performed? (i.e., short-term and long-term effects; activity restrictions; expected recovery period)