What Are Age Spots Caused By?

(Other than age, I mean)

Doctor Answers 4

Age Spot Treatments

Age Spots on the skin result from high concentrations or clusters of melanin, which gives skin its color. Melanin is pigment on the epidermis that is also responsible for tans. Ultraviolet (UV) light accelerates melanin production in order to protect deeper layers of the skin from overexposure.

Years of exposure to the sun’s UV light, as well as tanning beds, contribute to age spots. However, aging and genetics also play a role in formation. Older individuals may naturally produce more melanin. They are common on adults over 40 but can affect younger individuals. Age spots are more common on those with fair skin, though they also appear on darker skin. Genetics can also make some individuals to the development of age spots. Age spots are also known as liver spots, sunspots, brown spots or solar lentigines.


Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Age Spots

Age spots are generally caused by sun exposure. However, genetics, stress, and other environmental factors can contribute.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

The sun causes age spots

Cumulative, lifetime sun exposure is the cause of most age spots, although genetics do play a role. These spots (also called sun spots or solar lentigines) are usually found in places of high sun exposure, such as the face, neck, upper chest,  arms, and hands. Even in very elderly people, there are usually none on the upper, inner arms or other sun-protected areas because the spots really have little to do with age, they are cause by the sun.

Colby Evans, MD
Austin Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Causes of Age Spots and Melasma

Melasma and age spots are caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Sun exposure
  • Genetic factors
  • Skin color and type
  • Environmental influence
  • Stress
  • Hormones
  • Chronic inflammation

Age spots can be improved by simple and regimented protocols that I use in my office, including avoidance of direct sunlight and topical application of creams.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.