Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a dermatologist.

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you first notice the spots on your skin?
  • Did the spots appear gradually or quickly?
  • Have you noticed any other changes in the appearance of your skin?
  • Is the condition itchy, tender or otherwise bothersome?
  • Have you experienced frequent or severe sunburns?
  • How often are you exposed to the sun or UV radiation?
  • Do you regularly protect your skin from UV radiation?
  • What kind of sun protection do you use?

Questions for your doctor

Questions you may want to ask your doctor include:

  • What suspicious changes in my skin should I look for?
  • If the spots are age spots, what can I do to improve the appearance of my skin?
  • Do treatments make them go away completely, or do they just lighten the age spots?
  • Could these spots turn into skin cancer?
April 14, 2017
References
  1. Schaffer JV, et al. Benign pigmented skin lesions other than melanocytic nevi (moles). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 1, 2016.
  2. Goldstein BG, et al. Overview of benign lesions of the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 1, 2016.
  3. Sun protective clothing. American Melanoma Foundation. http://www.melanomafoundation.org/prevention/clothing.htm. Accessed Nov. 1, 2016.
  4. Melanoma (malignant melanoma). Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologicdisorders/cancersoftheskin/melanoma. Accessed Nov. 1, 2016.
  5. Schaffer JV, et al. Laser and light therapy for cutaneous hyperpigmentation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 1, 2016.
  6. Microdermabrasion: Overview. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/cosmetic-treatments/microdermabrasion#overview. Accessed Nov. 1, 2016.
  7. Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs. Accessed Nov. 1, 2016.
  8. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Nov. 28, 2016.
  9. Metelitsa A, et al. Laser and light therapy for cutaneous hyperpigmentation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
  10. James WD, et al. Melanocytic nevi and neoplasms. In: Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
  11. Cantisano-Zilkha M, et al. Combining non-invasive therapies. In: Aesthetic Oculofacial Rejuvenation. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
  12. Dermabrasion. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermabrasion. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
  13. Chemical peel. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/chemical-peel. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.
  14. Patel G, et al. Efficacy of photodynamic therapy vs other interventions in randomized clinical trials for the treatment of actinic keratosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatology. 2014;150:1281.
  15. Desmedt B, et al. Overview of skin whitening agents with an insight into the illegal cosmetic market in Europe. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2016;30:943.
  16. Ortone JP, et al. Treatment of solar lentignines. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2006;S4:S262.
  17. Draelos ZD. Skin lightening preparations and the hydroquinone controversy. Dermatologic Therapy. 2007;20:308.