Many people develop brown spots on their skin as they get older. They are called age spots, or sometimes liver spots because of their color. They typically appear on parts of the body that have seen the most sun exposure, like the hands, shoulders, arms, and face. If you’ve noticed age spots on your aging relative’s skin, you might wonder if you should be worried about them. Knowing more may allay your fears.
What Are Age Spots?
Age spots happen when skin cells produce excess melanin, which is the substance that gives skin its color. The exact cause of age spots is unknown, but experts think there may be several factors involved, such as:
- Exposure to the sun’s rays.
- Using tanning beds.
- Aging of the skin.
People sometimes worry about age spots because they fear they could be a sign of skin cancer. However, age spots are harmless. There’s no need to have them treated unless the older adult is especially self-conscious about them. They can be lightened using products that bleach the skin or can be removed by a doctor.
Age spots can vary in size, but they are typically between the size of a freckle and approximately half an inch. Sometimes they appear in groups, causing them to be more apparent. Age spots are also flat and oval shaped. They can be brown, black, or tan in color.
Who Is Most Likely to Get Age Spots?
Age spots can occur on anyone’s skin. However, they are more likely to develop in older adults and those who are light skinned. They also happen more often to people who have spent a great deal of time outside in the sun or who have used tanning beds quite a bit.
When Should Seniors See a Doctor for Spots on the Skin?
Even if you’re fairly certain a new spot on your aging relative’s skin is just an age spot, it’s a good idea to have it looked at by a doctor if it’s dark in color or has changed. These may be signs of skin cancer, which can be serious. Other signs that a spot may be skin cancer are:
- It is getting bigger rapidly.
- The spot has an irregular border.
- There is a strange combination of colors in the spot.
- The spot itches, feels tender, bleeds, or is reddish in color.
Elderly care providers can help your older family member to watch for spots that may be skin cancer and not age spots. An elderly care provider can also remind the older adult to wear sunscreen when they go outside, which can prevent both skin cancer and age spots. If the senior has trouble applying sunscreen, an elderly care provider can assist them to put it on.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care Services in Winter Haven FL, please contact the caring staff at Helping Hands Nursing Services today. To learn about our affordable rates and obtain a FREE assessment for your loved one, call (863) 616-1888.
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