Age spots

Age spots appear on our skin like little reminders of sunny days gone by. We all get them – sooner or later. Getting rid of them is a challenge. But what’s behind it and what can you do? You can find out about that and much more here.

  • Depending on age, the treatment of age spots can be complex and require several sessions. And yet age spots can often reappear.

  • Long-term exposure to the sun plays a key role in the development of these seemingly harmless pigment spots. However, it is important to distinguish these from other potentially dangerous skin changes.

Medically reviewed by:

Medically reviewed by:

Age spots: Simply explained!

Age spots, medically known as “lentigines”, appear as flat, light to dark brown spots, especially on sun-exposed areas such as the face, hands and décolleté.

Age spots are the result of excessive melanin production. Melanin is a pigment that gives our skin, hair and eyes their color. Over time, this color pigment can become unevenly distributed in the skin, which in turn leads to the formation of these characteristic spots. While the spots are usually harmless, their appearance gives us insight into our skin health and previous sun exposure.

In the next section, we delve deeper into the causes and examine possible risk factors.

Are age spots dangerous?

Age spots are basically harmless phenomena that merely represent an increased accumulation of melanin in the skin. They are witnesses of time and frequent exposure to sunlight, but not messengers of bad news. But be careful: not every dark spot is just an age spot.

While age spots are not dangerous, there are other skin lesions, such as melanomas or actinic keratoses, which pose a serious health risk. The difference? It often lies in the detail – in the size, the color change or the texture. It is often difficult for the layman to differentiate between them. It is therefore advisable to consult a dermatologist as soon as possible in the event of unclear or changing skin spots.

Age spots: Causes

There they are, the little brown spots that appear on our skin over time. But why do they arise? Put simply,they are the result of excessive melanin production. And there are several reasons for this:

  • Solar radiation: UV radiation is the main cause. Repeated, intensive sun exposure causes your skin to age prematurely. This is also known as “photo-aging”. A process that is closely associated with the term anti-aging. UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin, play a special role in the overproduction of melanin.
  • Skin aging: Over time, the cells that produce melanin lose their efficiency. This leads to an uneven distribution and formation of those brown spots.
  • Genetics: Yes, your DNA also plays a role. Some of us tend to develop more age spots as we get older.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone can influence melanin production. Pregnancy, menopause or hormonal therapies can therefore promote the formation of age spots.

Age spots, along with facial wrinkles, are a natural part of aging, but understanding their causes can help us take better care of our skin.

At what age do you get age spots?

The first signs can appear from the age of 30, although this depends heavily on individual factors such as sun exposure or genetic predisposition. Age spots become more visible in many people in their 40s, partly due to the sunlight accumulated over the years and also because of how the skin reacts to the natural ageing process.

During the transition to the 50s and 60s, age spots are most present. UV rays, skin aging and genetic factors have combined to leave a visible pattern on the skin.

Important: Not everyone gets age spots to the same extent or age. Factors such as genetics, skin care, sun protection and general lifestyle habits can influence the timing and extent.

How can age spots be treated?

Treatment of age spots does not always promise satisfactory results. Several sessions are often necessary. There is also a high chance that age spots will return over time – especially if treatment is carried out at an advanced age. The best results can still be achieved with young people. Comprehensive medical advice is recommended in order to have realistic expectations.

  • Laser therapy: In addition to removing pigment deposits, certain lasers can also contribute to skin rejuvenation by refining the skin’s appearance.
  • Cryotherapy: This method involves treatment with extreme cold, which leads to the death of the pigmented cells.
  • Microdermabrasion: Gentle exfoliation removes the top layer of skin and promotes regeneration, which can reduce the visibility of spots.
  • Chemical peels: By removing dead skin cells, retinol and fruit acid peels can reduce the appearance of age spots.
    Brightening creams & serums: Products, often with active ingredients such as retinol or vitamin C, aim to lighten the skin and thus reduce spots.

Which home remedies help with age spots?

As with blemished skin, many people initially resort to home remedies in the fight against age spots. Lemon juice is a popular remedy, as the acid it contains gently brightens the skin. Thanks to its moisturizing and healing properties, aloe vera can also help to reduce the appearance of age spots. Apple cider vinegar mixed with olive oil is also described in the literature.

Be sure to note: While these home remedies may be helpful for some, their effectiveness has not been scientifically proven. Before applying to the skin, it is advisable to carry out a tolerance test on a small area.

Any questions? Our FAQ section has the answers!

Age spots often start as small, flat, brown spots on the skin. Over time, they can become larger and darker, and their shape and color intensity can vary. It is important to distinguish them from dangerous skin changes. If in doubt, always consult a dermatologist.

The increased appearance of age spots can be favored by intensive sun exposure, genetic factors and the aging process. Especially after pregnancy, many women notice a sudden increase in such pigment spots and stretch marks. In addition, the appearance of age spots often accelerates in the 50s, which is usually associated with the natural ageing process.

Age spots are caused by an accumulation of melanin in the skin. It is not that the body is “missing” something, but rather a consequence of the skin’s reaction to many years of UV radiation and the natural ageing process.

Removing age spots permanently is usually a difficult undertaking, because they usually come back. However, there are various treatment options such as laser, cryotherapy, chemical peels or whitening creams that can help to reduce their appearance.

More questions? Simply make a personal consultation appointment online.


Last updated: 21.10.2023