Not all spots are caused by increased melanin. Seborrheic keratosis, commonly known as age spots, is one of them.
Age spots, or seborrheic keratosis, are a type of common epidermal tumor. While many believe that age spots are a sign of aging, some people start to develop them in their thirties. Age spots are caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, sun exposure, and human papillomavirus infection. Genetic variation suppresses tumor suppressor genes (p53 and Bcl-2), increases epidermal growth factors and growth factors from melanocytes, causing uncontrolled growth of epidermal cells and melanin, resulting in a raised and dark appearance.
Typical age spots appear in middle age, especially in areas exposed to sunlight, such as the face, scalp, ears, neck, chest, upper back, hands, and feet. Initially flat, they gradually become raised, evolving into brown to black papules or plaques that appear rough.
Treatment for age spots is relatively simple, and doctors can use CO2 lasers, cryotherapy, or electrocautery. Multiple treatments may be necessary to completely remove them. If age spots are darker or larger, there may be residual pigmentation in the treated area. When age spots change, doctors may perform surgical removal and send samples for pathological analysis to rule out malignant diseases.
So, how can you prevent age spots? Preventing UV exposure is the most effective method. Remember, age spots can appear on skin other than the face, and all skin exposed to sunlight needs adequate sun protection! Although age spots are not caused by melanin, sunscreen is still essential.