Sun Spots

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Articles

  1. Sunspots and Solar Flares
  2. Sunspots on Skin: Causes and Treatment
  3. What to know about age spots (liver spots)
  4. Spotless skin

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Thank you for your feedback. See Article History. Read More on This Topic. A wonderful rhythm in the ebb and flow of sunspot activity dominates the atmosphere of the Sun.

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Sunspot s, the largest of…. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. A typical mature…. This year cycle of sunspot activity produces variations in the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun. More sunspots lead to more ultraviolet radiation and increased ionospheric conductivity and hence stronger currents. On a shorter timescale solar flares emit X-rays that penetrate deeper in the atmosphere, temporarily ionizing….

Sunspots and Solar Flares

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Note: Please don't include any URLs in your comments, as they will be removed upon submission. We do not store details you enter into this form. Please see our privacy policy for more information. Click here to return to the Medical News Today home page. Other names for age spots include solar lentigines and liver spots, though they have no connection to the liver.

These marks are flat and darker than surrounding skin. They can be tan, brown, or black, and they may resemble freckles. In this article, we explore the causes and symptoms of age spots and describe safe ways to get rid of them. Age spots are a result of the body producing excess melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color.


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When the skin is exposed to sunlight, the body produces extra melanin to protect the skin from the sun's ultraviolet UV rays. Age spots can develop singly or in clusters. They vary in size and may range from 0. Age spots tend to form in people aged 40 and over , though they can also develop in younger people who frequently get sunburns or use tanning beds.

These spots can form on anyone's skin, though they are more common in people with lighter skin, which is more sensitive to the sun.

Sunspots on Skin: Causes and Treatment

A doctor will be able to identify age spots with a visual examination. They may use a dermatoscope, which is a hand-held magnifying tool that medical professionals use to examine areas of skin. In some cases, it can be difficult to differentiate an age spot from melanoma , a type of cancer that forms in cells that contain pigment. If a doctor is unsure, they may order a skin biopsy. This involves taking a small sample of the affected skin and sending it to a laboratory, where a technician will perform tests to determine the type of growth.

Age spots are harmless and do not require treatment. However, because they can resemble skin cancer , it is important that a doctor checks them out. If a person wants to remove a confirmed age spot for cosmetic reasons, they have a variety of options. Topical creams can lighten age spots. However, avoid lighteners that contain mercury, as they may pose a serious health risk. A healthcare professional can prescribe a product that is safe. These creams lighten spots gradually over time. They can sometimes irritate the skin, so it is best to discuss side effects with a doctor before deciding upon the right cream.

Some cosmetic procedures can also lighten or remove age spots. Before undergoing a procedure, discuss options with a dermatologist, or a doctor specializing in skin care. These procedures all carry risks and can scar the skin. These removal techniques can also make the skin extra sensitive to sunlight.

Anyone who has undergone one of these procedures should take extra precautions in the sun and follow their doctor's advice.

Topical creams can also reduce the appearance of age spots. Research suggests that creams containing one or more of the following ingredients may help:. Some people use makeup to cover age spots. A dermatologist or cosmetics salesperson can offer advice on useful products. Apply the sunscreen to exposed skin 15 minutes before going outdoors. Results of a study indicate that using an SPF 30 cream every day can also prevent age spots from getting darker in the spring and summer. After a microdermabrasion treatment, you may see mild redness that will likely disappear in a few hours.

In the above study, the patients also had flaky skin for 3 or 4 days. Chemical peeling procedure : This can effectively treat age spots on the hands.

What to know about age spots (liver spots)

While the patients who had cryotherapy had slightly better results, the skin tends to heal faster after a chemical peel than after freezing cryotherapy. You can prevent this by protecting your skin from the sun. To get the protection you need, you must apply sunscreen every day before you go outside.

Not just any sunscreen will do. You need a sunscreen that offers:.

Spotless skin

Covering your skin with clothing can also protect your skin. With so many treatment options available, it can be hard to know which to choose. A dermatologist has the expertise needed to create a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. A dermatologist can also tell you if a spot is actually an age spot.

Other spots also become more common on our skin with age, including seborrheic keratoses and actinic keratoses. Schilling, LM and Nazanin S. Livingood Award and Lectureship Marion B.