Aging Skin—Are Those Spots Normal?

Over time, skin suffers from wear and tear, and wrinkles, spots and growths begin to appear.

The February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers some of these normal changes and possible treatment options.

Harmless growths include:

Age or liver spots - These flat, brown areas, also called solar lentigos, typically occur on the hands, back and face. Using a topical retinoid - often in conjunction with bleaching cream and a mild topical steroid - may gradually fade an age spot.

Skin tags - These flesh-colored growths protrude from the skin, often on a stalk. They’re often found on the neck or in the armpits. A doctor can remove them with surgical scissors, an electrical device or liquid nitrogen.

Cherry angiomas
- These small, smooth, cherry red spots are commonly found on the torso. They range from pinhead size to ¼ inch across. They can be removed with a laser, liquid nitrogen or an electrical device.

Seborrheic keratoses - These brown, black or pale growths look waxy, as if they were dripped on the skin by a candle. They usually appear on the face, chest, shoulders and back, often in multiples. Their size ranges from ¼ inch to 1 inch across. They can be removed with a simple surgical procedure or with liquid nitrogen.

The cost of removing any of these harmless spots - considered cosmetic procedures - may not be covered by insurance.

Not all skin spots are harmless. Skin cancer can look similar to a harmless spot or growth. Any spots that bleed and don’t heal should be examined by a physician. Other concerning symptoms are itchiness, pain or a changing outline, color or appearance.

Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today’s health and medical news.

Source:  Mayo Clinic

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