Also known as solar lentigines, age spots are the oval-shaped lesions that appear on the skin over time. While age spots are caused by the damaging effects of the Sun, the marks themselves are not dangerous. It’s Sun exposure rather than old age that causes them, and because they’re linked to solar damage, they usually appear on exposed parts of the body like the backs of the hands and the tops of bald heads.
Normal skin gets its colour from the light-absorbing pigment melanin, which is produced by specialised cells called melanocytes deep in the skin. Sunlight hitting the skin activates and accelerates the production of melanin, which is drawn to the surface where it forms a dark barrier (tan) to protect the deeper layers of the dermis from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
However, as our skin ages and becomes thinner and less elastic, pigments can accumulate in small pools near the surface causing these common blemishes.