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Are Age Spots Hereditary?

are-age-spots-hereditary

ANSWER:

Age spots are hereditary.

The primary cause of age spots is sun exposure, but some people have a genetic predisposition that contributes to their development. [“Liver Spots and Aging Hands” American Society for Dermatologic Surgery]

What Are Age Spots?

Age spots, also known as liver spots, are patches of brown-, gray- or black-colored skin sometimes visible on older skin. They are believed to be primarily the result of exposure to the sun’s rays, specifically from ultraviolet (UV) light, over time. Using tanning beds or any lamps that emit UV light can also contribute to age spot formation. Lastly, it is possible that age spots are merely a natural side-effect of aging skin.

Are Age Spots Hereditary?

There is also a belief among the general public that age spots are inherited. And while age spots are not hereditary in the sense that if your parent had them then you are certain to also have them, genetics may also determine your susceptibility to developing liver spots on your skin.

Why do Age Spots Form?

Your epidermis, the top layer of the skin contains a pigment, melanin that gives your skin its usual color. Exposure to UV light increases how much melanin is produced in your skin. This creates a tan that helps protect lower layers of skin cells from UV rays.

How do Age Spots Form?

If an area of the skin is exposed to the sun frequently and for prolonged periods, melanin can “clumps”, and result in age spots. In addition to sun exposure, simply becoming older can cause an increased production of melanin.

 

Resources

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
Liver Spots and Aging Hands Information
http://www.asds.net/LiverSpotsAgingHandsInformation.aspx

U.S. National Library of Medicine
Liver Spots
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002126/

Mayo Clinic
Age Spots-Liver Spots
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/age-spots/DS00912

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