Dermatology Consultants Post

What’s The Difference Between Melanoma And Age Spots?
Posted on 09/07/2016

What’s The Difference Between Melanoma And Age Spots?

Screen-Shot-2016-09-08-at-6.10.25-PMWith age comes change, especially when it comes to your skin. Aside from wrinkles, an unpopular skin change is that of age spots, also referred to as sun spots or liver spots.

Age spots can result from long-term sun exposure and actually have nothing to do with your liver. It is not uncommon for these age spots to be confused with melanoma as they sometimes have a similar appearance.

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, and thus confusing the two often causes extreme alarm. Before self-diagnosing, it’s a great idea to check in with your dermatologist, especially if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer.

Types Of Age Spots

Cherry Hemangiomas

  • Small red growths
  • Caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels in the skin
  • Common
  • May appear anywhere
  • Not linked to skin cancer or sun exposure

Lentigines

  • Flat, tan-to-dark spots
  • Similar to freckles
  • Typically range from size of pencil eraser to a dime
  • Usually located on sun-exposed areas of skin

 Seborrheic Keratoses

  • Flat or raised
  • Range from pale to dark brown to black in color
  • Often scaly or wart-like
  • Benign skin growth

Melanoma

This potentially dangerous skin cancer can resemble a lentigo or seborrheic keratosis in its early stages. If melanoma is diagnosed early, it is curable with surgery. So contact your dermatologist right away if you see a suspicious skin growth, as early detection can help prevent the spread of a melanoma. Additionally, if you see a suspicious growth on your body, be sure to run through the ABCs of Melanoma, which include:

  • Asymmetry: check to see if the growth is different in its shape. Typically with melanoma, one side is bigger.
  • Border: if the border is irregular, that’s suspicious.
  • Color: lesions with more than one color are also suspicious. The darker the lesion, the greater your concern should be.
  • Diameter: Melanomas tend to be larger in diameter than a pencil eraser.
  • Evolution: sudden changes in bleeding, itching, and/or pain require immediate doctor attention for further inspection.

 Contact Dermatology Consultants in Lynchburg

 If you or your doctor are concerned about a particular spot, it is important to see a dermatologist immediately. If you simply have age spots, you have several cosmetic options available to you, or you can let them be as they will not cause you any harm. Using sunscreen daily will help prevent many of these age spots from appearing.

 If you are located in Lynchburg or one of our surrounding communities, please contact our office and we will be happy to answer any questions and help you setup your first appointment.