The proper name for age spots is solar lentigines. Despite their nickname, aging is not the primary cause of age spots.
Most age spots range in size from a freckle to the size of a dime. They are flat and oval in shape and can be tan or brown in color.
While age spots are primarily caused by ultraviolet exposure, some individuals have a genetic predisposition to developing them.
Age spots are caused by melanin, the pigment produced by the body to protect it from ultraviolet damage. As skin is exposed to more ultraviolet rays, melanin production increases, resulting in clusters of pigmentation.
Topical ingredients include hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid, mandelic acid, and niacinamide.
The daily, year-round use of sunscreen can help prevent age spots. Use of retinol products and regular exfoliation with glycolic acid products are also helpful, as they improve cellular turnover.