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Alternative Names Return to topSun-induced skin changes - liver spots; Senile or solar lentigines; Skin spots - aging; Age spots
Definition Return to top
Liver spots are flat, brown-black spots that usually occur in sun-exposed areas of the body. They are unrelated to the liver or liver function.
Causes Return to top
Liver spots are changes in skin color that occur in older skin. The increased color may be brought on by aging, exposure to the sun or other forms of ultraviolet light, or other unknown causes.
Liver spots are extremely common after age 40. They occur most often on areas that have had the greatest sun exposure, such as the:
Symptoms Return to top
Skin lesion that is:
Exams and Tests Return to top
A diagnosis is based on the appearance of the skin, especially if you are over 40 and have had a lot of sun exposure over the years. A liver spot that looks irregular may be biopsied to confirm that it is not skin cancer.
Treatment Return to top
No treatment is needed in most cases. You can improve the cosmetic appearance of your skin by using skin bleaching lotions or creams. Freezing (cryotherapy) or laser treatment may be recommended to destroy the liver spots.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Liver spots are not medically dangerous. They are permanent skin changes that may affect the cosmetic appearance of the skin.
Possible Complications Return to top
Liver spots are harmless and painless, but they may affect the appearance. This can cause emotional distress.
Occasionally, liver spots may make it difficult to diagnose skin cancers.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if:
Prevention Return to top
Protect your skin from the sun by taking the following precautions: