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What to Know About Sunspots on the Face: An Article from MedicalNewsToday

Sunspots are dark-colored spots that can develop on areas of sun-exposed skin. Despite their appearance, sunspots are benign and not a sign of cancer.

Although sunspots are harmless, some people may choose to treat them for cosmetic reasons or to improve their self-esteem.

In this article, we discuss what causes sunspots on the face. We also outline the treatments and home remedies that could help reduce their appearance.

What are sunspots?

Sunspots, which doctors may refer to as solar lentigines, are dark brown, flat, rounded spots that may appear on the face or other areas of sun-exposed skin. Sunspots are most likely to develop in the following areas:

• hands

• arms

• shoulders

• back

• feet

The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) radiation that stimulates the production of skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce a substance called melanin, which gives the skin its color.

When there is a disruption to melanin production, people may develop overpigmented (hyperpigmented) or underpigmented (hypopigmented) areas of skin. Sunspots are hyperpigmented skin blemishes.

Sunspots are not cancerous and do not become cancerous. However, some people may find these skin blemishes unsightly. They may, therefore, seek treatment to lessen the appearance of sunspots and improve their self-esteem.


Researchers note that the enzyme tyrosinase is a key factor in the production of melanin. They suggest that the overactivity of tyrosinase may cause hyperpigmentation or sunspots.

Overactivity of the tyrosinase enzyme can occur as a result of aging. Due to this, some people refer to sunspots as age spots.

According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), some people may also have a genetic risk for developing sunspots.

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