Getting Rid of Age Spots


Liver spots, sun spots, lentigines, solar lentigines, macules, senile actinic keratosis, solar keratosis, seborrheic keratosis—all these terms are for pigmented spots that appear in aging, but what do all these words mean exactly?

As the aging population continues to explode globally, there is a marked increase to retain our youthful appearance and remove any signs of aging from our faces and bodies. Aging spots are one of the most visible signs, and they can be esthetically displeasing to most people.

As beauty therapists, we should acquire a clearer knowledge of dark spot terminology so we can explain what they mean to clients and treat them appropriately. The following article will help to clarify these terms and offer some insights into treatments available for them.

Liver spots

The term "liver spots" has been incorrectly given to these aging spots because they were originally thought to be caused from liver dysfunction. Found mainly on the shoulders, arms and back of the hands previously exposed to chronic sun exposure, they can also be hereditary.

Senile Actinic Keratosis

Aging spots usually appear in middle age, and most of them are flat. Senile actinic keratosis increases in aging and with irregular shapes and distinct borders varying in size from 0.2 to 2 cm. In the term senile actinic keratosis, the “senile” refers to “getting old”, “actinic” refers to sun while “keratosis” is in reference to the proliferation of keratinized cells of the epidermis. This proliferation leads to a raised lesion on the skin’s surface which is of a darker pigment than the typical aging spots.


A macule is a small flat pigment that does not change in color or texture.

As beauty therapists, we should acquire a clearer knowledge of dark spot terminology so we can explain what they mean to clients and treat them appropri­ately. The following article will help to clarify these terms and offer some insights into treatments available for them.

Actinic Keratosis

While most aging spots are benign, “actinic keratosis” occur mainly among fair-skinned individuals, Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1. They are distinct from other aging spots since they can be “pre-cancerous” and can be distinguished from other keratosis by its reddish, scaly appearance. They are also mostly found on the cheeks, bridge of nose, tip of ears, scalp, back of hands and forearms. Actinic keratosis on the tip of the ears are more likely to occur among men rather than women whose hair provides protection from the sun’s damaging rays. Clients must keep a close eye lesions that turn into a reddish color or have a rough skin texture. They should be referred to a physician.

Seborrheic KeratosisSeborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis are raised pigmented lesion,s a.k.a. barnacles of aging. They are benign and are caused by keratinocytes. They appear to be a dirty, yellowish brown warty lesions on the face and trunk of the body. They increase in number as one gets older. They can be large and are unsightly when found on the eyelids and cheeks. This and other conditions such as skin tags, cholesterol deposits, cherry angiomas, fibromas, dilated capillaries and other skin conditions can be treated by using the LAMPROBE.

Ingredients for Dark Spots

Treatment for dark spots can include chemical peels, retinoic acids and hydroquinone (2% over the counter, 4% by prescription). They may cause side effects such as skin sensitivity. Skin lighteners may contain a variety of ingredients such as vitamin C, licorice, kojic acid and niacinamide. Home remedies suggest rubbing lemon juice, aloe vera or castor oil on the skin. Again, these may cause skin allergies and sensitivity.

Devices for Dark Spots

Cryotherapy (N2O) with CryoSkin and electrodessication are quick, effective and inexpensive treatments for dark aging spots. As trained skin therapists, you can help your clients remove these spots and take years off their appearance. Contact a Lamskin professional to learn about our solutions. After care and home care advice are important after the treatment.

Preventing Aging Spots

It is possible to prevent most of these aging spots, if clients take precautions in their early years by. They should using broad-spectrum sunscreen products all over the face and body. They should wear a hat and sunglasses in the sun. They should avoid using indoor tanning booths, and they should use moisturizing face and body lotions every day. While clients may enjoy sun exposure, they should be reminded that those unsightly aging spots can arise from this behavior and perhaps they may take better precautions.


About the Author 

The author of the article

Pat Lam, B.sc, Hons. is a Board Certified Anti-Aging Health Practitioner (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine). As an international educator, she has lectured at national and international Cidesco congresses throughout the world. Together with her late husband, Hubert Lam, they established one of the first Cidesco schools in Canada, internationally known as Lam School of Advanced Esthetics. As an international Cidesco Examiner and a Cidesco Gold Medal Winner, she has authored numerous articles for trade magazines in North America. With a background in fitness, aerobics, yoga and personal training, she has used her passion for health and wellness to develop educational tools, nutrition books and DVDs to enhance the education of health and beauty professionals throughout the world. Pat has won numerous awards throughout her career of 35 years including a Gold Medal in Stress Therapy from Cidesco International. She is the CEO of Skin Care Consultants, President of Cidesco Canada and together with her late husband, Hubert Lam, were both honored with the Crystal Legends Award in 2011.


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