As skin becomes older changes start to happen. It is common for skin to become dryer, thinner and less elastic as well as for fine lines to appear. Sun exposure can speed up changes in the skin, and be a factor in age related changes such as unwanted dark patches, roughness and wrinkles. As skin ages the number of melanocytes in the skin also decrease, leading to less natural protection from the sun. Protecting the skin from the sun is therefore essential for keeping the skin youthful looking for as long as possible (1).
Below are the most common skin lesions and growths found in older skin.
Sun/age spots (liver spots, lentigos).
These spots appear as large freckles, they are flat to the skin and usually light brown in colour. Sun/age spots develop after many years of sun exposure and is very common after the age of 40. They are caused by an overproduction of melanin in certain areas, which is also known as hyperpigmentation. Most commonly these are found on the face, hands or in other areas which have had a lot of sun exposure (1).
Cryotherapy (Cryopen) is a fast and easy way of removing these spots. However, for very large dark patches, as is sometimes seen on the face, a skin lightening cream or other treatment may be more suitable.
Moles and atypical moles (nevi and dysplasic nevi).
Moles can be flat but are more often slightly raised. They are round and dark in colour and can show up anywhere on the body. Atypical moles can have a slightly different appearance, they are usually larger, commonly also round but can also have mild asymmetry. Moles can become more raised and lighter with age, however if they start to change shape or colour or if there's any pain, itchiness, soreness or bleeding/crusting at the site it should be checked out by a GP (2).
Moles are usually removed by shaving or excision. Currently, cryotherapy (Cryopen) is not used for the removal of moles. However, laser removal and excision are commonly used methods.
Seborrhoeic keratosis (seborrhoeic warts, senile warts).
These spots are usually found on the trunk or around the temples. They typically have a rough textured surface resembling a wart, but can also have a smooth surface. They have a “stuck on” appearance and can be a variety of colours from flesh coloured to dark brown. Sun exposure increases the risk of developing seborrhoeic keratosis, however some people have a genetic predisposition for these types of lesions (3).
Seborrhoeic keratosis can be removed with cryotherapy (Cryopen) or with advanced eletrolysis.
Skin tags (Acrochordons).
Skin tags usually appear in areas where there is rubbing of the skin, such as the neck or under the arms. They are made of collagen and blood vessels and typically look like a bulb with a stalk. They can be skin coloured or pigmented. Some medical conditions may increase the likelihood of skin tags developing (4).
Cryotherapy (Cryopen) is effective at removing skin tags, as is advanced electrolysis.
Cherry angiomas (senile angiomas, Campbell de Morgan spots, red moles).
Cherry angiomas are bright red, flat or raised spots, which vary in size. The redness comes from an overgrowth of blood vessels. They have no known cause, but can run in families. They can be found anywhere on the body, but most commonly on the trunk (1).
Cryotherapy (Cryopen) is an effective method of removal as well as advanced electrolysis.