What “Age Spots” Say about Senior Health

By Pete Lane, 8:00 am on

Seniors may become embarrassed by spotting on the skin, sometimes called age or liver spots. These spots appear as darkened areas that are typically oval or circular in appearance, and are commonly seen on the face and hands of the elderly. Cosmetic issues aside, these spots can also be indicative of a more serious problem. In this post, Home Care Assistance of Centennial will provide seniors and their families with important information about age spots and senior health.

What Causes Age Spots?

Normal age spots are caused by exposure to the sun over time. While anyone can develop age spots, a senior is more likely to develop the condition if they have light-colored or fair skin. Those with a history of frequent or intense exposure to the sun and sunburn are also more at risk for age spots.

Normal vs. Abnormal Age Spots

Age spots can vary in color from shades of brown to gray, and in some cases, they may appear to be black. The sun spot itself is often flat and the area should not itch, burn, peel or bleed. A normal age spot also does not go through significant changes in appearance. If you or your loved one notice that an age spot becomes bigger, darker or somehow looks different, it may be time for a check-up. Inflammation of the area, scabbing or raising of the edges are also a cause for concern.

Seeking Medical Attention

While these changes in the appearance of an age spot can be the result of numerous causes, your loved one’s doctor can help rule out serious conditions such as skin cancer. During a scheduled appointment, your loved one’s doctor will likely perform a skin assessment. Depending on the results, they may choose to further monitor the area, perform a biopsy or remove the area of the skin.

Preventing Age Spots

To avoid the need for medical intervention, there are certain things that seniors and their caregivers can do to help prevent age spots. The sun should be avoided between 10am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are most intense. When a senior is outside during this time, it is important that sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 15 is worn, and the sunscreen should also contain UVA and UVB protection. In the current summer season, it’s also important to wear protective clothing such as hats, pants and long-sleeved shirts that are a breathable cotton material.

For more information about senior care, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Centennial. We provide hourly and live-in care in South Metro Denver and are available 24/7. Call 303-957-3100 to speak with a Care Manager and schedule a free in-home consultation today.