Age Spots/Solar Letigines
A solar lentigo (plural, solar lentigines), also known as a sun-induced freckle or senile lentigo, is a dark (hyperpigmented) lesion caused by natural or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light. Solar lentigines may be single or multiple. This type of lentigo is different from a simple lentigo (lentigo simplex) because it is caused by exposure to UV light. Solar lentigines are benign, but they do indicate excessive sun exposure, a risk factor for the development of skin cancer.
Who’s At Risk
Solar lentigines most commonly occur in older adults, particularly those who sunburn easily and fail to tan, but they may also occur in children.
Signs and Symptoms
Solar lentigines typically appear on areas exposed to natural or artificial UV light. They appear as well-defined, light brown to black, flat spots. In people who have been treated with a form of UV light therapy called PUVA, solar lentigines may occur in areas of the skin not exposed to UV light.
To prevent solar lentigines, avoid exposure to sunlight in midday (10 AM to 3 PM), wear sun-protective clothing (tightly woven clothes and hats), and apply sunscreen (SPF 30 UVA and UVB block).
When to Seek Medical Care
Solar lentigines do not require medical therapy, but see a physician for evaluation if they become cosmetically bothersome or if you are uncertain about any pigmented spot on your body.
Treatments Available at Modern Aesthetics:
If solar lentigines are cosmetically bothersome, Laser spot removal can be used to diminish the appearance of the spots. They may need more than one treatment to achieve the desired affect. Spots may return over time or sun exposure, and may need additional treatments.
Physician Prescribed Treatments
(not available at Modern Aesthetics):
- Freeze the area lightly with liquid nitrogen.
- Prescribe a bleaching cream (hydroquinone), but this is often not successful.