“In a small number of cases, melanoma can start out as an age spot, but typically a melanoma looks darker, is more asymmetrical, has more variation in brown color, making it look darker, and is generally more raised,” says Ben Behnam, MD, is a board certified dermatologist from Dermatology & Hair RestorationSpecialists in Santa Monica, Calif.

It’s best to keep track of your age spots, though this will be difficult if you have a lot of them.

Make a note of how your age spots look, on an individual basis, if you don’t have that many. Examine your face up close every month.

If you’re worried about an age spot turning into melanoma, you should have a dermatologist (not a primary care physician) inspect your age marks on an annual basis.

Melanoma. Omar Bari, Philip R. Cohen/CreativeCommons

In fact, for extra reassurance, have a twice a year examination — in addition to your monthly self-exams.

But don’t obsess about this. As the years continue to march on, you can expect new benign age spots to appear.

Just keep track of those as you do with the other ones.

In fact, you can expect them to appear over time if you’re at least 40. Again, do not panic if you notice a new age spot.

Do not jump to the conclusion that it might be melanoma just because it wasn’t there a month ago.

In addition to skin cancer treatment, Dr. Behnam provides laser, cosmetic and acne treatments, among many others.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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