Do age spots get bigger?

An in-depth look at sunspots

Seeing new spots appearing on your skin can be really scary and inconvenient, especially when it appears on your face. While age spots can also show up earlier, they are commonly seen once you get to your 40s and 50s. Around this time, you may start noticing more and more spots appearing on different parts of your body, including your face.

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What are age spots?

Understanding age spots

Despite what the name, these spots are not actually caused by aging. These are most often seen in areas that are mostly exposed to sunlight. Age spots are most likely appear on the back of your hands, your face, shoulders, around the neck area, your forearms, and your upper back.As you age, your skin is exposed to the harmful rays of the sun for a longer time, and age spots are one of the consequences you see on your skin. Age spots can be of different colors and are often more commonly known as sunspots. They are also technically known as solar lentigines. Age spots can appear on any skin, but it is easily visible on those with fairer skin.

What do age spots look like?

Age spots can vary in size and not all spots on your skin will be of the same size. Age spots often look like small and dark areas on your skin. When you see the age spots, the skin where they appear will look like a flat or oval patch of discolored skin. Age spots are usually very well defined.With age spots, you will see these spots appearing together on the part of the skin that is affected. Age spots will not fade away as you age and the spots that you have on your body will mostly remain the same in shape or color. It might, however, be different from the size or shape of age spots on someone else’s body. However, it is very important to remember that if you notice any changes in your age spots, like if they change in shape, color or even how they feel when you touch them, you should tell your doctor immediately.

Why do we get age spots?

There are various other factors even other than your age that can cause age spots. While age is definitely one of the factors, others include your skin’s original pigmentation and changes in the same, exposure to damaging rays of the sun as well as any other source of ultraviolet radiation, such as excessive use of tanning equipment, genetics etc.

Why do age spots appear?

Your skin makes a pigment known as melanin, which is also known as the skin pigment. When your body starts to produce an excess of this pigment, it results in patches of pigmentation on the skin. The cells that produce melanin, are known as melanocytes. But when you are continually exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, or through tanning machines, these cells produce more melanin than needed, and hence your skin breaks out in dark patches.If you have a family history where your parents, siblings or immediate aunts or uncles have a lot of age spots on their skin, you are most likely to get them sooner or later. Also, if you have fairer skin, you will be more prone to sun damage and hence more visible age spots. This is because when you have fair skin, your body tries to produce more melanin to try and keep you protected against ultraviolet rays.

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Can age spots be raised?

If you have ever wondered if you can age spots be raised, the answer is yes. Instead of having flat and oval shaped age spots, you can also have raised age spots. Here are a few types of age spots that are raised:

Seborrheic keratoses

These are mainly black or brown in color and look like a wart type of growth on your skin that looks as if it has been stuck separately on your skin. These raised age spots are harmless and do not require any medical intervention unless they are causing you any pain or discomfort.

Actinic keratoses

These are the type of wart-like raised age spots on your skin that are thicker and rougher seborrheic keratoses. Actinic keratoses can be reddish, and these should be tested by your skin specialist, as these may be a sign of skin cancer. If you notice scaly age spots, that too could be a sign of actinic keratoses, and you should get it tested immediately by your dermatologist or cancer specialist.

Cherry angiomas

The raised age spots categorized as cherry angiomas are mostly bright red in color are usually small in size compared to other raised age spots that may be bigger and thicker. These are often caused when your blood vessels get dilated.


These are the type of raised age spots that are caused when the blood vessels on your face become dilated.

Skin tags

Raised age spots that look like small parts of the skin projecting outwards are known as skin tags. These could be irregular or even smooth in appearance and texture and can either be almost the same color as your skin or more highly pigmented. In most cases, the skin tags are raised above the area of skin on which they appear. Sometimes, they could even have a type of stalk attached which may seem to hang from the skin. These types of raised age spots are benign.

Photo on englishdermatology.com

Do age spots grow?

When you notice age spots on your skin, they almost always remain the same size as when they first appeared. If you do notice them changing in size and growing, it is important to get it checked by your doctor to rule out any health complications. This will mainly help to rule out any presence of precancerous or cancerous lesions. It is possible that you may feel your age spots are growing in size, and there can be a few explanations for this, as follows:

  • In most of the cases, the age spots that you notice on your skin will develop very gradually and very slowly grow in size.
  • It is also possible that you have a lot of age spots around the same area, which can eventually grow a little and then blend into a larger patch of discolored skin which looks like a large age spot.
  • If you notice your age spots growing fast in size, especially if it is growing faster than the other age spots that you have, make sure to get it checked with your skin specialist to rule out any possible risk of cancer.

What is the distinction between age spots and skin cancer?

Regular exposure to the sun’s damaging rays can result in spots on your skin known as age spots, also knowns as liver spots. However, a lot of people are worried that this sudden appearance of discolored spots on the skin could also be a sign of skin cancer. Even though they might look very similar and may make you worried, here are a few ways in which you can spot the difference between age spots and signs of skin cancer: To know whether or not the spots on your skin are signs of skin cancer, take the ABC test:

  • Asymmetry: Check your spots to see if they look different on one side than they look on the other. Asymmetry would mean if they are bigger on one side as compared to the other.
  • Border: Check the border around each of your spots and see if you notice any changes, such as any irregularity in shape or color or texture on some parts of the border as compared to the rest.
  • Colour: If you have age spots, they will be of the same color overall. For instance, if you have a spot which is brown, if it is an age spot, it will be brown overall and not have other colors in between. In case the spot is a sign of skin cancer, it may have more than one color in it.
  • Size: Age spots that are signs of skin cancer or are melanoma spots will usually be larger in diameter as compared to that of a pencil eraser. However, this is not a fool-proof method to completely check whether or not this is a case of melanoma. If you notice any of the other signs above, even if the spot is smaller in size, you should immediately get it tested by a skin specialist or by a cancer specialist.

Age spots do not tend to change in size, shape, texture, color or overall appearance but will remain the same throughout, like the time they first appeared. In case of a cancerous or melanoma spot, you might notice certain changes in your spots or moles, such as changes in color, shape, texture and so on. Some of these could also be crusty age spots, or you may notice bleeding or they may itch a lot. If you notice anything like this, make sure to get it tested immediately, to rule out any cancerous concerns or to get the required medical attention as needed.

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To make our skin tighter, eat healthily, exfoliate your skin, limit UV exposure, and use

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