This image displays many solar lentigos due to the patient having many sunburns as a child and teenager. Solar lentigines are often more pronounced on the left cheek due to sun exposure while driving a car. The backs of the hands commonly have solar lentigines (mistakenly called “liver spots”). The highly sun-exposed back of the forearm shows more numerous solar lentigines than the inner forearm. The medical term for sun and age freckles, as seen here, is solar lentigos.
Share |

Solar Lentigo  Information for adults

Picture of Solar Lentigo: This image displays many solar lentigos due to the patient having many sunburns as a child and teenager. Divider line
This image displays many solar lentigos due to the patient having many sunburns as a child and teenager.
left arrow
right arrow
Overview
A solar lentigo (plural, solar lentigines), also known as a sun-induced freckle or senile lentigo, is a dark (hyperpigmented) lesion caused by natural or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light. Solar lentigines may be single or multiple. This type of lentigo is different from a simple lentigo (lentigo simplex) because it is caused by exposure to UV light. Solar lentigines are benign, but they do indicate excessive sun exposure, a risk factor for the development of skin cancer.
Who's At Risk
Solar lentigines most commonly occur in older adults, particularly those who sunburn easily and fail to tan, but they may also occur in children.
Signs and Symptoms
Solar lentigines typically appear on areas exposed to natural or artificial UV light. They appear as well-defined, light brown to black, flat spots. In people who have been treated with a form of UV light therapy called PUVA, solar lentigines may occur in areas of the skin not exposed to UV light.
Self-Care Guidelines
To prevent solar lentigines, avoid exposure to sunlight in midday (10 AM to 3 PM), wear sun-protective clothing (tightly woven clothes and hats), and apply sunscreen (SPF 30 UVA and UVB block).
When to Seek Medical Care
Solar lentigines do not require medical therapy, but see a physician for evaluation if they become cosmetically bothersome or if you are uncertain about any pigmented spot on your body.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
If solar lentigines are cosmetically bothersome, your physician may:
  • Freeze the area lightly with liquid nitrogen.
  • Prescribe a bleaching cream (hydroquinone), but this is often not successful.

References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.983, 1760-1761. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp.721, 823, 863-865, 888-889. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Last Updated: 22 Dec 2008