Around What Age Do Sun or Age Spots Appear?

I'm 22. I've been using face lotion with spf 15 since I was 16. And the make up I wear also has spf 10. But recently I noticed a very very light spot on my upper cheek that looks to me like an age spot or sun spot. I knew my time was coming because my mother has intense age spots on her face and has tried every cream over the counter. But she didn't get them till her late 30s, so I'm not sure if thats what it is. So, is it normal to get age spots early in life?

Doctor Answers 11

Treating Age Spots

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Yes, age spots can come in your twenties.  It is very dependent on your skin type and the amount of ultraviolet light your skin has seen.  The good news is that safe and effective strategies for removing age spots with very little downtime are available.  I utilize the KTP laser (Iridex Gemini) to lighten and remove age spots for a very natural look.  If you prefer to completely remove your age spots, I would recommend a light fracationated ablative resurfacing treatment.  A fractional carbon dioxide treatment would be very light at your age and really give your skin pop for quite some time. 

The age spots will reaccumulate with more sun exposure.  I recommend iIncreasing your daily SPF from 15 to 30-45 to prolong results and prevent reaccumulation of spots.

Springfield Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Re: Age of Onset for Sun Spots and Age Spots

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Sun spots and age spots tend to appear in older individuals. However they are not affected by a person’s age.

They do have a stronger causal relationship with the amount of sun exposure the skin has received.


Excessive sun exposure will reduce the skin’s ability to repair itself. A pigment in your skin called melanin acts as a natural sun screen. It will be secreted to help protect the skin from further damage.

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Protecting Against Sun And Age Spots

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Congratulations!  You are so young, and yet you are taking such good care of your skin by making sure you have on adequate sunscreen every day.  You must remember, though, that if you are in direct sunlight for long periods, you need something stronger and with good UVA zinc.  A hat is also not a bad idea.  Because of your family history, you are headed for some battles in this area.  Some of the damage you will begin to see will have been created when you were even younger.  Continue to be a wise sun-care person and you can avoid some of the problems your mother has had with her skin.  Also, just so you know, there are and continue to be great modalities for lightening these lentigines if they should occur.

James Carraway, MD
Virginia Beach Plastic Surgeon

Light spot on cheek may not be an age spot

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What you describe as an age or sun spot may not be one.  These lesions are usually darker than the normal skin-- not lighter.  Has a dermatologist looked at your spot?  Nonetheless, good job with the sun protection.  Good luck!

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist

Sun or Age Spots

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Lentigines (sun spots or age spots) are very possible to get in the early 20s. They arise due to genetics, aging, and/or sun exposure. They can be treated, but prevention measures such as utilizing a hat, and applying SPF 30 or higher sunscreen (& reapplying every 2-3 hrs) to face, neck, and back of hands are recommended.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Age & Sun spots

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Brown age and sun spots are due to genetics, aging, and sun exposure. While you can't change your genes or your age, you can protect yourself from the sun by avoiding mid-day sun, wearing a hat, and applying SPF 30 or higher sunscreen (& reapplying every 2-3 hrs) to face, neck, and back of hands.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

Sun spots in the teens and twenties

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The earliest sun spots we see are freckles.  Later come the spots that come and stay, instead of come in the sun then go away like freckles.  These are called lentigines.  They can appear as early as the twenties and keep coming through the decades.  Use an spf 30 or above sun screen, but most importantly where a hat when you are out in the sun.  Even a baseball cap will help, though a broad brim is much better for a really sunny day or beach trip.  Avoid tanning via booth or outdoors.  A tan is a sign of sun damage.  Make sure you get a skin check at the dermatologist if the spots do not look like your usual freckles, or if they change in size or color.

Madeline Krauss, MD
Boston Dermatologic Surgeon

Age spots at a young age

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It is certainly possible to get solar lentigines (sun spots or age spots) in your 20s. These typically accumulate with the total time you have spent in the sun, so a younger person can actually have many more than an older person who has had less sun. Genetics and where you live also play a large role.

It is important to make sure any spot is actually an age spot and not something more concerning, like a precancer or skin cancer. Although precancers are unusual in younger people, they do occur and melanoma can occur in adults of any age.

Age spots can be treated by cryotherapy (freezing them), topical treatments (like tretinoin cream), and a variety of lasers. Seeing a board-certified dermatologist is the best way to make sure the spot is normal and to hear about treatment options.

Colby Evans, MD
Austin Dermatologist

Sun Spots at an early age

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Thanks for the question. 

It is possible to develop visible sun spots in your 20's. Early photoaging is present, although not necessarily visible to the naked eye. There are several treatments available to manage sunspots including IPL, fractionated lasers, and topical treatments. Always use sunblock regardless of the treatment  you undergo, as this will protect from further sun damage.

Warmest Regards,

Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S. 

Glenn Vallecillos, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Skin spots can be treated

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Hi Texas,

Skin spots are a common complaint that can be treated.  Sun is the most common reason for spots to appear.  The use of sun screen as you have been doing has undoubtedly helped prevent the spots from being worse.  Sometimes, however, other factors, such as hormonal changes can cause spots to appear.  Treatment of these spots can be accomplished through skin creams (Retin-A, Triluma, and hydroquinone are some commonly used medications) or resurfacing procedures (chemical or laser peels).  I recommend you see a surgeon or dermatologist with expertise treating facial problems for a full evaluation.

Good luck!

P. Daniel Ward, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 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.