Peculiar things start to happen to our skin as we age, especially the areas that are exposed to the sun. Luckily most issues are simply cosmetic rather than dangerous. (But just a friendly reminder: Any mole that changes in shape, color or size or bleeds on its own should be checked out by a dermatologist pronto).
1. Cherry angiomas
These little red spots, which can be raised or smooth, have no known cause but are more common as you get older. The red shade comes from blood vessels multiplying in one area. While many people just ignore cherry angiomas, others may find that they itch, bleed or become irritated when rubbed against clothing.
Treatment If you are bothered by these individual red dots, your dermatologist can use a laser to remove them. It’s a fast and simple procedure, and the results are usually permanent.
2. Sun spots
Sometimes we call these flat, brown discolored areas age spots since they do come with age. They hang out on hands, arms and the upper chest where your skin gets the most sun exposure. You’re more likely to get sun spots if you already have freckles, as both conditions are due to pigment concentrations.
Treatment You can try to lighten sun spots at home with a bleaching cream, available over the counter. If that doesn’t do the trick, your dermatologist may try lasers or chemical peels. Once you do get rid of sun spots, it’s important to be diligent about sun protection or they’ll come right back. Daily sunscreen is a must, whatever your plans.
3. Skin tags
These bumps that hang off the skin are found in areas of the body with creases, such as the neck, groin folds or under your arms, and are created by a buildup of collagen that occurs when skin surfaces rub together. They are more common with age, especially if you have type 2 diabetes or are overweight.
Treatment A dermatologist can cut off the skin tag or freeze it off using liquid nitrogen, the same way a wart is removed. There’s a slight stinging or burning sensation while the liquid nitrogen is being applied and while the tag thaws. You can take a pain reliever but most people don’t need to.
4. White spots
White dots that appear on shoulders and shins. Interestingly, if you have light skin, sun damage strikes not just as dark spots but also as these white discolorations. They are harmless, but let your doctor know if you notice a scaly texture, as this could be a sign of a precancerous spot.
Treatment Sorry, there’s not much you can do for white spots. While there are ways to remove pigment safely, there is no good method for adding it back to an area where you’ve lost it.