Hitting the big 4-0 can mean a lot of different things to different people. Unfortunately, it can also mean age spots, which generally start popping up after the age of 40. They're sometimes called liver spots, which is a bit confusing considering the fact that they don't actually have anything to do with the liver. Perhaps a more fitting name would be sun spots -- sun exposure is what causes them in the first place. No matter what you call them, they're all the same thing: dark patches people get on their skin as they get older.
Age spots are usually brown or black, and they pop up on areas of the skin that are constantly exposed to the sun, like your hands and face. If you're good about protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays, you might be able to prevent them, but if you go out regularly without any sunscreen you'll probably develop them early on in life. Either way, they're painless. Aside from being unsightly, they won't really bother you -- but if you don't like the way they look, there are a few things you can do to try to get rid of them.
If it's too late for you to prevent age spots, you're not out of luck. The good news is that they affect only the outermost layer of your skin, so there are several treatment options available to get rid of them. Think about it like spilling coffee on a pad of paper -- if you remove enough pieces of paper, you can get rid of the stain and the pad will look brand-new. Treatments that get rid of age spots work in a similar fashion -- they involve everything from freezing the top layer of your skin to getting underneath it with a laser. There are also a few homemade treatments you can try. Either way, you don't have to live with age spots unless you want to.
Keep reading to find out what specific treatment options are available.