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How Do Age Spots Develop?


Age spots, which are commonly referred to as liver spots, are caused by many years of exposure to ultraviolet radiation. When you spend time in a tanning bed or in the sun without protecting your skin with sunscreen, ultraviolet radiation causes more melanin production within the skin. The increased melanin production can occur in concentrated areas, resulting in age spots where skin is frequently exposed.


Age spots are more likely to develop as you get older although even people in their young adult years can develop this skin condition. The spots are most common in people who are over the age of 40.

History of Sunburn

People with a history of sunburn are more likely to develop age spots compared to people who have not experienced sunburns. Sunburns are the result of prolonged or frequent overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. The overexposure can activate the production of melanin to a greater level than routine or occasional sun exposure that does not result in a burn.


Even if you protect your skin with sunscreen at all times when going outdoors, your genetics may make certain individuals more susceptible to the development of age spots. This is especially true in people with light or fair colored skin, which makes the clumps of melanin more noticeable.



Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Age Spots.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. <>.

“Liver Spots: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2013. <>.

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