The term age spots describes a, mostly harmless, dark brown, pigmentation change of the skin. As the term suggests, these changes occur more frequently with age, which is why between 40 and 50 a large part of the population already has age spots. As these changes occur more often in areas exposed to sunlight, age spots on the hand are particularly common. Although these pigment changes are usually harmless, many people are bothered by the spots on their hands.
The spots on the hand do not differ in appearance from other age spots on the body. Age spots can be very different in shape, size and brightness. The diameter of individual age spots ranges from fractions of a millimetre to several centimetres.
The edge of the spots can be easily delineated, so that the spots usually separate well from the surrounding skin. The brightness usually decreases continuously due to the constant further pigmentation of the skin areas. The shape can also vary greatly from one spot to the next. An oval shape is typical, but the spots can also have a completely different shape. Care should be taken whether the spots change in the course of time as a change in size, shape and colour should always be examined dermatologically.
Two factors in their combination strongly contribute to the occurrence of age spots. On the one hand, as the name suggests, the age of the affected person plays a major role. On the other hand, the occurrence can be strongly associated with the long-term UV exposure of the affected body part.
Since gloves against light exposure are rarely worn in the western world, the accumulation of age spots on the hands is not surprising. Other factors that have been linked to the occurrence of age spots are the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. It seems logical that the use of tanning salons greatly increases the risk of age spots appearing.
Sunbeds are deliberately exposed to UV radiation in order to tan the skin. At the same time, however, the risk of causing pigment changes in the skin, such as age spots, increases. The so-called melanin is a substance that our skin produces more when exposed to UV radiation.
Melanin is responsible for the frequently desired tan in summer, but also plays a role in the development of age spots. Normally, melanin is supposed to protect the cells of the skin from the dangerous UV radiation, which is why it is produced in greater quantities when the skin comes into contact with the radiation. Due to the long-term UV exposure of the skin of the hands, the melanin-producing cells are present in increased quantities. Deposits of the substance lipofuscin are formed, which appear superficially as age spots. From a purely biological point of view, there is no danger of age spots, as these are not degenerated cells that can damage the body through metastasis or similar.