Science Questions

Sat, 2nd Oct 2004

Part of the show Skin Diseases and Skin Cancer

Question

asked:

Why as we get older do we get brown pigmented spots on our hands, and when pregnant ?

Answer

We can get two sorts of colour changes as we get older and again it tends to be on the sun exposed bits like the hand and forearms. The pigment cells start to not work as well as they used to do. You can get pale spots; you can also get darker spots, which sometimes get called liver spots. I'm afraid it's part of the aging process really; the pigmentation mechanism doesn't work quite so well as it did before. In relation to pregnancy, lots of people notice that they get an increase in pigmentation, which can happen on the face, on the abdomen and around the nipples and freckles can do as well. This is because of the hormone changes increase the amount of pigment production and when you give birth and the hormones go back to normal again, those darker patches usually fade gradually.

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