At what age do age spots appear? | Age spots on the hand

At what age do age spots appear?

As age spots are spots of the skin caused by an increased pigment deposition, it takes not only increased UV radiation but also a certain amount of time for them to act on the skin in order for age spots to become visible. The older a person gets and the more sunlight has accumulated on the respective skin area over time, the more likely it is that an increased pigment deposition will occur there. Generally speaking, it can be said that they are more frequent in people over 40 years of age, but for people around 60 they are almost the rule.

If sudden changes in pigmentation, i.e. areas that are clearly different from the surrounding skin, are noticed on the hands, a dermatological examination of the skin should always be carried out. If the changes are noticed early, before the age of forty, a specialist examination is particularly important. The examination can usually be performed either by a dermatologist or a general practitioner.

The clarification by a doctor is important, because age spots are harmless changes, but a confusion with malignant changes is quite possible. Especially a confusion with the so-called lentigo maligna, a form of black skin cancer, as well as actinic keratosis, is possible. If these diseases occur on the hand, in contrast to the age spots, a therapy must be started as soon as possible.

An, albeit harmless, mix-up can also occur between age spots and freckles. The freckles, which also appear on the hand, are sometimes more or less visible depending on the exposure to sunlight, in contrast to age spots, which remain constantly visible throughout the year. A special lamp is used to diagnose age spots in comparison to other phenomena on the skin. This lamp allows a close examination of the area to be examined.


Although age spots on the hand, and other parts of the body, are generally not dangerous, many people are bothered by the appearance of the spots. That is why there are now some therapy options that allow the removal of age spots on the hand. There are some creams that can cover the disturbing spots, comparable to make-up.

Other therapies deal with the actual removal of the age spots. In laser therapy, the laser beams used cause the deposited substances in the skin to burst. The body breaks down the stored lipofuscin after the therapy.

However, the therapy also has risks. For example, it is important to rule out that there are no malignant diseases behind the pigment change, as these could metastasize as a result of the treatment. The therapy of choice is usually the use of creams which can bleach the affected areas.

In Germany the active agents hydroquinone, tretinoin and hydrocortisone are contained and approved as a combination in these creams. The disadvantage of this therapy is that it damages the skin in the long run and therefore it should only be used for a short time. Other methods to remove age spots, which should however only be carried out by an experienced dermatologist, are icing or mechanical scraping under local anaesthetic.

Acidic peels can also be used, which penetrate into deeper skin layers and destroy the pigments responsible for the age spots. In general, all these methods lead to irritation of the skin and certain things have to be taken into account to allow recovery after the procedure. The doctor’s instructions, such as avoiding sunlight, must therefore be strictly observed after the treatment.

It is advisable to consult a doctor and discuss the treatment options, as many creams that are freely available on the market have not been shown to have any effect in studies, despite their high price. One way to combat age spots is to use creams that can bleach the pigment deposits. A complete disappearance of the age spots, once they are there, cannot usually be achieved as the creams only reach the superficial skin layers and not the somewhat deeper ones where the pigment producing cells are also found.

These bleaching creams often contain substances such as watercress extract or vitamin C which ultimately reduce the pigmentation. However, it should always be made sure that the creams are only applied to the area of age spots and not to normal skin as otherwise the skin may also lighten. The bleaching of age spots can be attempted with natural products like lemon juice, vinegar or buttermilk (lactic acid is effective here) as well as with medically applied, synthetically produced creams which can lighten the age spots.

The lightening is caused by the fact that the acids contained in the creams remove the uppermost skin layers, but the pigment spots will not disappear completely as the melanin-producing cells are deeper. Once the age spots are there, it is usually difficult to remove them – except with laser treatment. Therefore, the use of home remedies is often without success. Lemon juice, vinegar or buttermilk can be tried as natural whitening agents, which are applied to the age spots or with which age spots are regularly required.