The Difference Between Liver Spots and Age Spots

As people age, small dark spots, which are also known as liver spots, tend to become visible on their skin. For some, they may be as large as a freckle, while for some, they may be larger than a centimeter across. These dark pigmentations that develop on the skin are caused by exposure to the sun. Although there might be other factors that affect the production of age spots or liver spots on one’s skin, usually the main reason is exposure to the sun.

Age Spots and Liver Spots

So what is the difference between age spots and liver spots? Nothing. Both terms are synonyms to each other. Age spots got their name because these certain spots most commonly appear on the skin of people who are over 40 years of age, thus they have been associated with age.

These spots have also gained the name “liver spots” because of their color. Contrary to the belief in the past that these spots were indications of liver problems, these have no relation to the liver. Their colors range from brown, black, red and even gray. So basically, age spots and liver spots are the same condition.

The Sun

The primary cause of age spots, or liver spots, is exposure to the sun. However, in most young people, these spots do not appear even with great amounts of exposure to the sun because the melanin production of their skin is not as active as it is when a person ages. So basically, the more one ages, the more melanin is being produced.

Fair Skin

People with fair skin are more susceptible to age spots as those with dark skin. However, not everyone with fair skin gets these spots. It all depends on the amount of exposure one has had to the sun. The more exposed to the sun people are, the better chances of these spots appearing on their skin. Fair skinned individuals who have freckles are more likely to get these liver spots, even with just a controlled amount of sun exposure, because the melanin in their skin is less than those without freckles.


You may come across some individuals who may have light brown spots on their skin and they are very young. These people inherited these spots through genetics. Their skin is lighter, which means it produces less melanin. Melanin is the skin’s natural protection from the sun’s rays. So, although they are not yet aging, they may have some light brown spots on their skin, which increase with sun exposure.

Liver spots, or age spots, are either genetic or come with aging. However, what is important is that they can be controlled or prevented by wearing strong sunscreen and limiting sun exposure.