Skin Cancer vs. Age Spots: How to Tell the Difference

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Unusual skin spots should never be overlooked. We explain how to spot the difference between skin cancer vs. age spots here.

skin cancer vs. age spots

You look in the mirror and see a new spot. Normal sign of aging or something more serious? The odds are it is harmless, but age spots are easy to mistake for skin cancer.

So, which is it, skin cancer vs. age spots? Learn to recognize the difference and find some treatment options for harmless age spots below.

Skin Cancer Vs. Age Spots

Tanning increases your risk of developing skin cancer as well as age spots. So it makes sense that there is a lot of overlap between the two. While age spots are harmless, skin cancer can be life-threatening.

Early detection and treatment improve the odds of skin cancer treatment success, so recognizing the difference between the two is essential.

Dark areas on the skin that should send you to the doctor for a diagnosis include:

A- Asymmetry
 A spot with an asymmetrical border is suspicious.

B- Border irregularity
 A poorly defined border may indicate skin cancer.

C- Color variations
 A range of colors on one spot is cause for concern.

D- Diameter
 If the spot has a diameter larger than 6 mm, which is about the size of a pencil eraser, you should have it looked at.

E- Evolution
 Any existing mole or spot that changes in appearance, either in color or size, warrants a visit to the doctor.

Unusual skin spots should never be overlooked. We explain how to spot the difference between skin cancer vs. age spots here.

What Are Age Spots?

Age spots can vary in how dark they are. Some are barely darker than your natural skin tone, while others are more noticeable. They usually develop in the areas that receive the most sun exposure, such as the tops of your hands, your upper shoulders, and your face.

Most common after the age of 50, the amount of sun exposure you receive, the intensity of that exposure, and genetics all play a role in developing age spots.

Age spots themselves are not a health risk. They do, however, indicate sun damage. If you develop age spots, it makes sense to keep an eye out for other spots to crop up or for changes in existing moles.

Just because age spots are harmless doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated. Some people become self-conscious if the age spot is noticeable. There are a few different ways to fade these spots.

A doctor can use a laser or peel to fade hyperpigmentation, but you can also try some at-home remedies.

Using coconut oil for age spots is an inexpensive and effective treatment. Combine coconut oil and lemon juice. Apply the mixture a few times a day directly to the spot. To get the best results, start applying as soon as you notice age spots developing.

Skin Care is Self-Care

Most types of skin spots are harmless, so checking your skin should not be stressful. It is essential that you do keep an eye out for new spots or changes to existing ones.

Noticing the difference in skin cancer vs. age spots allows early intervention in case of bad news.

There are several different types of skin cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment provide the best outcome. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, can spread to internal organs if left untreated.

Taking care of yourself can be a challenge when you have others to care for. If this article inspired you to spend a little time on self-care, check out other articles on this site for more ideas.

By The Mom Kind

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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