Causes of Liver Spots

Liver spots, also called age spots or sun spots, are flat, pigmented spots found on the skin. They are most common in older adults and may be embarrassing for some people. Liver spots are common on the back of the hands, face, back of the neck and other sun exposed areas.

Sun Exposure

Despite their name, liver spots have nothing to do with the liver. Similarly, despite being called age spots by some, they are not caused by age. They are actually caused by sun exposure, but do appear more often on older individuals who have had more exposure to the sun. Older individuals, in many cases, simply have had more sun exposure than younger people because they've had more time to be out in the sun. Not everybody gets liver spots, however. People who wear sunscreen and take precautions to avoid sun damage are at less of a risk of getting liver spots.

Melanin and UV Light

Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. Ultraviolet light from the sun speeds up the production of melanin in the skin. Liver spots appear as melanin is produced in higher than normal quantities. Tanning beds may also lead to liver spots and other symptoms of sun damage. As people age, they may produce extra melanin which may also lead to liver spots. For more information about liver spots and how to reduce your chances of sun damage, speak with a healthcare professional. also has further information regarding liver spot prevention and treatment.

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