What is a liver spot (age spot)?

Liver spots, also known as age spots or sun spots, are flat black, brown or dark spots that appear on the skin with increasing age. They are most common on sun exposed areas of the skin. Commonly, age spots appear on the hands.

What causes old age spots (liver spots)?

Age spots are caused by sun exposure and increased production of melanin, a natural pigment that gives skin its color. Age spots are common in adults over 50. They can look much like cancerous growths but are not dangerous. Because they can resemble cancerous growths, it is best to have a dermatologist evaluate the spots. Age spots affect people of all skin types, but are more common in people with fair skin.

What are the symptoms?

Age spots are flat areas of increased pigmentation. They are brown or dark spots seen in the areas of greatest sun exposure. Age spots are most common on the hands, arms, face and chest.

How are age spots diagnosed?

Age spots are not dangerous and do not require medical attention. Treatments are available to make them less noticeable. However, any spots that change in size or color, have an irregular borders or bleed require the attention of a dermatologist. Yearly full body skin checks and evaluation by a dermatologist are advised.

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