Introduction: Aging spots, dark spots, and liver spots
Have you seen a large freckle on the back of your hand or cheek? You could be looking at an age spot, which is what it’s called.
Age spots are black, gray, or brown and flat. They usually occur in areas exposed to the sun, like your face or the back of your hands. Age spots are also known as senile lentigo, liver spots, sun spots, or solar lentigines.
It’s not rare for one age spot to appear or a few to group together. Though they may start to develop early on, and even during childhood, age plays the most significant factor in whether or not you’ll get them. They’re most common in middle age or older people who spend much of their time outside.
What causes hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is mainly caused by too much melanin. Melanin is a pigment on your skin. It is what gives your skin a particular color. It is also important to note that melanin protects against UV radiation. The sun gives off a lot of different waves like UV waves, the visible light spectrum, which involves all the different colors, and infrared.
So, if you’re out in the sun, you’re constantly getting hit by specific amounts of radiation. Melanin is always there to protect you against UV radiation specifically.
Melanin is similar to plant pigments like chlorophyll, which protects the plant from UV radiation. An interesting thing to note is that these pigments are antioxidants. So, melanin is an antioxidant.
But what causes too much melanin?
Consider what happens during the summer months. You might notice that you have plenty of spots than in the winter. This happens because of UV radiation.
As you get older, you might also have more of these spots. The same thing applies to diabetic people. Pregnant women may also have more pigmentation.