Lentigo causes flat spots to appear on the body. These spots are usually tan, brown, or black in color. They may have rounded or uneven edges, looking much like a freckle or sunspot, that doesn’t fade during winter. It is a pigmented area of the skin that resembles a small lentil, hence the name. They can be called lentigines or lentigos, and we can remove them using pigmentation-removal treatments.Lentigines can appear on different areas of your body, depending on their cause. They don’t itch or cause other symptoms. Lentigines are different to freckles (called ephelis), because there are an increased number of melanin-producing cellsin a lentigo, instead of the increase in melanin in a freckle. The result is typically the same, however – brown pigmentation on the skin.


Anyone can get lentigines, though fair-skinned adults are very likely to have sun-induced lentigo. There are some conditions present at birth that result in lentigo, though these are uncommon.


Lentigo simplex is the most common type. The spots appear on your trunk, arms, and legs. Lentigo simplex often starts at birth or during childhood. The spots can go away in time.

Solar lentigo is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This type is common in people over age 40, but younger people can get it, too. It happens when UV radiation causes pigmented cells called melanocytes in the skin to multiply. Solar lentigo appears on sun-exposed areas of the body, like the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. The spots may grow over time. Solar lentigines are sometimes called liver spots or age spots.

Ink spot lentigo appears after a sunburn in people who have lighter-pigmented skin.

PUVA lentigo starts after psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA) therapy, which is used to treat conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Tanning bed lentigo appears after exposure to an indoor tanning bed.

Radiation lentigo happens in areas of the skin that have been exposed to radiation — for example, from cancer treatment.

Several inherited syndromes can also cause lentigo, including:

Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome: This condition causes a larger-than-normal head, noncancerous tumors, and dark spots on the body.

Cowden syndrome: This disorder causes many noncancerous growths called hamartomas to form on the body.

Noonan syndrome: This condition causes lentigines to form on many different parts of the body.

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome: This condition causes noncancerous growths to form in the stomach and intestines. Children with Peutz-Jeghers often get small dark spots on their faces.

Xeroderma pigmentosum: This syndrome makes people extra sensitive to UV rays from sunlight


  • Medicines such as bleaching creams containing hydroquinone or retinoids (tretinoin)
  • Chemical peels
  • Laser or intense pulse light therapy to destroy melanocytes
  • Freezing (cryotherapy) to destroy melanocytes