Solar lentingos (also referred to as sun spots or liver spots) are small, flat, round spots on the skin that begin to appear later in life on sun-exposed areas. They are particularly common on the face, neck, arms and backs of the hands, usually sparing the knuckles.
Solar lentigos are thought to be caused by years of sunlight exposure. The sun damages the pigment-producing cells in the skin (melanocytes), causing them to over-produce pigment in sun-exposed areas. The spots may increase in size over time and sometimes join together to create larger spots. They may resemble freckles, but are typically darker and have a more consistent color throughout.
Solar lentigos are benign, meaning they do not cause any harm. However, some people seek treatment to improve their appearance. There are several possible treatments for lentigines. If you wish to remove a single lentigo, our dermatologists may recommend a procedure that can be performed quickly in the office. Such procedures include cryotherapy, chemical peels and laser therapy.
Additionally, medical bleaching agents can be applied to the skin to make lentigines fade; hydroquinone is the most commonly used. Although they will not remove the lesion completely, they can make it less visible. There are also agents that combine several active ingredients, such as Solage. Solage combines tretinoin (a topical retinoid) and mequinol for improved results. Our doctors will recommend a treatment that is best suited to your specific medical needs and personal choices. Be sure to let us know if your lesions return after treatment.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, call 512.930.3909.