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A lentigo is an area of skin that has more skin pigment than normal parts of the skin and thus looks darker. They are found on the most sun-exposed areas of the skin, which tend to be the backs of hands, face and lower legs. They can be yellow, light or dark brown in colour. Solar lentigenes are harmless and can often be found in people over the age of 40 years.
Solar lentigenes are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from either the sun or use of sunbeds. This then causes an increasing number of melanocytes and accumulation of melanin (the pigment that gives the skin its colour) within your skin cells which forms darker, more pigmented spots on the skin.
Solar lentigo is fairly easy to recognise and diagnose from a quick examination by a dermatologist – they are usually flat and oval, round or uneven in shape. They can sometimes be slightly scaly and range in colour from skin coloured, to tan, dark brown and black. Their size can also vary from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter. A solar lentigo can be accurately identified with the use of a magnifying tool called a dermatoscope.
Solar lentigenes can be prevented by very vigilant sun protection. Once present, they usually don’t need to be treated. However, they may pose a cosmetic nuisance. Treatment options include cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen), hydroquinone containing creams and lasers.
To find out more about the bespoke skin treatments we offer for solar lentigo, contact us now!