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Age spots and mole removal

Age spots are generally thought to be the result of sun damage and usually show up on the face, hands, arms, or chest. In women, blotches may also be caused by pregnancy or birth control pills. Used alone, over-the-counter bleaching creams are limited in effectiveness. Prescription creams have slightly higher percentage of the active ingredient hydroquinone (hy-droh-KWIHN-ohn). Retin-A can fade some spots and pairing it with a bleaching cream may accelerate the effect.

Products with 10 percent alpha-hydroxy acid and chemical peels may also help lighten spots. If such treatments aren't successful, age spots can be removed by freezing or with a ruby laser. Moles are raised, typically benign (buh-NINE) bumps of skin that are usually taken off for cosmetic reasons. This may be accomplished with an incisional biopsy, in which most of the mole is removed and the tissue is checked for cancer. If cancerous cells are detected, any remaining mole tissue and sometimes the surrounding area is cut away. Moles may also be entirely removed in one step with either a scalpel or a laser. Laser removal tends to produce less scarring.