After a lifetime of being exposed to the sun, you’re bound to have multiple consequences, including brown spots on your hands and face. Age spots, technically known as “solar lentigines,” are well-defined, uniformly colored areas of brown or grayish pigment that generally show up on the hands, face, neck, and chest. Despite the name, these spots are not caused by age. Rather, they come from sun damage.

This increases the production of melanin and leads to the generation of rough pigmentation on uncovered parts of the skin. Pigmentation is color of the skin generated by the melanin, which is the natural pigment responsible for the generation of eye as well as hair color. But when excess melanin is generated in a certain area, it leads to a brownish spot on the skin (brown spots or hyper pigmentation).

Excess generation of melanin can be stirred up by ultraviolet light of the sun or artificial tanning salons, which is why significant long-term exposure to the sun and can be correlated to some degree with a risk for skin cancer.

Melasma is another type of pigmentation abnormality in the skin. It can be caused by pregnancy, oral contraceptive use or develop without any known cause. Click here for more information on causes and treatments for this concern.