There are several misconceptions about liver spots and what causes them to appear on the skin. Liver spots may also be called age spots and sun spots, which only adds to the confusion, as each name suggests a different cause. Sorting myth from fact may be helpful in understanding the condition and preventing future liver spots from appearing.
Liver Spots and the Liver
There is no relationship between liver spots and the liver. Liver spots get their name because it was once incorrectly believed that liver spots were the result of liver spots. Liver spots may also be called age spots by some because they are more prominent as people age. However, aging does not cause liver spots.
Liver Spots and the Sun
Sun spots is the most accurate term used to describe liver spots, as exposure to the sun stimulates the production of melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color), which may lead to liver spots. They are more common in older individuals because they have had more exposure to the sun throughout their life. To avoid liver spots, avoid excessive sun exposure and take the proper precautions to prevent sun damage. Wearing sunscreen and the proper clothing (long sleeves, long pants and a hat) is helpful in preventing symptoms of sun damage such as liver spots. Fortunately, there are treatments available that work to fade liver spots so they are less noticeable or are removed completely. Patients are encouraged to discuss their options with a skincare professional before choosing a treatment.