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Age spots are common in people of different ages due to aging and exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Technically age spots are in fact a non-cancerous growth that develops from the squamous cells of the epidermis on the surface of the skin.  Scientifically known as Seborrheic keratosis, it is a very common condition with no known causes, often seen as people age. Age spots have the appearance of a raised or uneven area of skin that is slightly brownish or black in colour which is found not only on the face, but also on other parts of the body. Young people, even in their thirties, may get age spots as well.

Traditional Chinese medical doctors consider that the aging of skin, the weakening in blood vessels, and excessive exposure to the sun weaken the internal chi in human organs which would in turn cause age spots. In such cases, medicinal or nutritional remedies to enhance the health of internal organs and to stimulate blood circulation are helpful and necessary. 

When should you consult a doctor?
For smooth, light-coloured age spots which remain more or less the same in appearance, no special treatment is needed. Taking photos of these age spots would help in the comparison of their development in the future.

Do consult doctors when you detect the following symptoms :
  • The age spots change from light to darker colours
  • The size of the age spots becomes bigger
  • The colours are mixed and varied
  • The infected area has uneven surface and shapes
  • Other symptoms such as itching, redness, swelling, pain, or bleeding

Treatment and prevention
In fact, most age spots do not require any special treatment. If the patient wants to treat his age spots, some Chinese medicinal materials, when grounded into powder form, may be used as a facial for whitening results  e.g. Adlay, Angelica dahurica, Hoelen, Typhonium, etc. Other materials such as asparagus and Gao Ben can also be used for facial whitening.

Laser treatment can also be used to cure age spots. Doctors use precision laser beams to burn off the infected epidermis to allow new skin to grow. As there will be wounds on the skin after the treatment, the patient should take special care to protect themselves from the sun to give the skin an opportunity to repair, as well as to prevent sunburns and skin tans. It should be noted that even if the age spots are removed, the possibility of recurrence still exists. The most important thing is therefore to protect yourself from the sun on a daily basis. The best preventive measures include wearing a hat, putting on clothing with long sleeves, carrying an umbrella when going out or applying sunscreen to avoid the sun's ultraviolet rays.

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Seborrheic keratosis