Age spots, also known as liver spots, are one of the many changes to the skin that come with age. These spots usually appear anywhere on the body that’s exposed to sun, with common locations including the face, hands, arms and shoulders. While most of these spots are harmless, understanding the causes, prevention, treatment, and—most importantly—signs of an abnormal spot can help your aging parent remain healthy. Here’s what both seniors and caregivers need to know about age spots.
Age spots are caused by years of exposure to UV light from the sun or tanning beds. Sunlight accelerates the production of melanin, a pigment in the epidermis that gives skin its color. After years of prolonged exposure to the sun, older adults may eventually notice these spots on the hands, arms, and face where melanin has been produced in a high concentration. People with fairer complexions tend to be more susceptible to developing age spots over time.
Age Spots vs. Melanoma
Age spots are flat black, brown, or tan spots that can resemble melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer. While most age spots are not a cause for concern, it’s important to have any new spots checked by a dermatologist to make sure they’re not cancerous. This is particularly important if the age spot exhibits any of the following:
- An irregular border
- Multiple colors
- Large diameter (greater than a pencil eraser)
- Changes such as bleeding or itching
- Pain experienced when touching the spot
- Irritation of the skin around the spot
Age spots are one of a variety of common age-related conditions, some of which can affect older adults’ ability to live at home in comfort. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
While it’s not always possible to prevent liver spots from developing, the best way to reduce the chances of these spots is avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and never leaving the house without sunscreen. It’s important for your loved one to wear sunscreen any time he or she is outdoors, and it should be reapplied every two hours.
Caring for their skin can be challenging for seniors who have limited mobility or health conditions such as arthritis. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. Lincoln families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Normal age spots have the same texture as the rest of the skin. When there’s no pain or abnormal appearance, age spots require no treatment. If there’s any doubt as to whether or not a darkened spot on the skin is anything other than an age spot, it’s best to have it evaluated by a doctor or dermatologist.
There are a few treatments that can reduce or eliminate the appearance of age spots:
- Prescription bleaching cream will fade the age spots over a period of months. Bleaching creams make skin more sensitive to UV damage, so it’s important for seniors to wear sunscreen and avoid sunlight while using them.
- Laser treatments can destroy the melanin-producing cells in the skin to fade the dark spots.
- Chemical peels can burn away the outer layer of the skin to allow new, younger-looking skin to grow in its place.
- Dermabrasion can also work by sanding off the outer layers of the skin.
- Cryosurgery can be used to freeze the spots with liquid nitrogen.
Older adults who need help with transportation to medical appointments can benefit from the help of home caregivers. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Lincoln, CA, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (916) 226-3737 today.