Can I Do Anything About the Age Spots on My Face?

The Short Answer from a dermatologist

Q: What can I do about the age spots on my face? They make me self-conscious.

A: The treatment will depend on the type of age spots you have. Many different types of spots can develop on the face. Some are flat and some are raised.

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  • When spots are flat, smaller and light brown, we call them plain old freckles.
  • When spots are flat, dark and better-formed, we call them lentigines (lentigo if you have just one).
  • When spots are thicker, they may be benign overgrowths on the top layer of skin called seborrheic keratoses. These can be flesh-colored, pink, light brown or dark brown, and may look like barnacles.

Sun protection can help freckles and lentigines, but not the thicker, benign growths like seborrheic keratoses.

To improve flat age spots (freckles and lentigines), we may use liquid nitrogen, different lasers or topical bleaching creams. We can freeze seborrheic keratoses with liquid nitrogen if they’re relatively flat. If they’re thicker, we can numb you up and scrape them off the top layer of the skin.

People often worry that seborrheic keratoses are melanoma, but they’re different. However, to be sure you know which type of spots you have, I would call them to your dermatologist’s attention.

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Dermatologist Christine Poblete-Lopez, MD

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