Does Radiation Therapy Make You More Susceptible to Age Spots?

I had breast cancer 7 yrs ago and had 6 weeks of radiation. Since then I have had a tremedous amount of freckles (age spots) on my arms, hands and starting now on my face. I am 54 yrs. old and medium complexion. I am not in the sun that much and do use sunscreen. Of course, I didn't in my younger days...

Doctor Answers 3

Sun spots and radiation

Sunspots come from cumulative sun exposure over a lifetime. They typically show up on the places that have had the most sun, such as the face, neck, upper chest, forearms, and hands. Usually areas protected from the sun (like the inside of your upper arm) do not develop them or develop very few.

Radiation can discolor the skin lighter or darker based on the amount of radiation that was used. This discoloration can mimic sunspots, but would only occur at the site where the radiation was actually applied. Sunspots elsewhere on the body do not arise from localized radiation treatment. Radiation and the scarring that results from it can increase your risk of skin cancer in the specific area where radiation was used.

Austin Dermatologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Radiation therapy

Your accumulated sun damage and prior radiation therapy can turn some of your skin into age spots. People will also get pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. It is mandatory that you should be checked by a board certified dermatologist more often. In terms of getting rid of the benign age-spots, Medlite, Ruby, Versapulse, IPL, Fraxel and Pixel laser treatments are helpful in achieving desired results.


Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

It's not the radiation, just the sun from years ago

When we have had a significant amount of sun in our younger years, the effects of it begin to really show once we hit 50.  IPL treatments can be very helpful in removing them.  It's not the radiation.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 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.