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Why Are They Called Age Spots?


Liver spots are flat patches of darkened skin that appear on skin that is exposed to the sun.  They result from aging (if susceptible, you may receive them as early as 40 years of age), sun or ultraviolet light exposure, heredity, or an unknown cause.  They usually appear on areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to sunlight, such as the face, back of the hands, and shoulders.  These spots are known by other names such as senile or solar lentigines (sun-induced freckles), and even, age spots.  Therefore, while you may believe that liver spots and age spots are different disorders, they are the same condition and the names can be used interchangeably.

Confusion about Possible Causes

When hearing about possible causes of these skin spots, you may believe that liver spots and age spots are different conditions.  “Liver spots” were thought to be caused by liver problems.  This is an erroneous assumption since the spots are not linked to the liver or disease (however their appearance makes skin cancer diagnosis difficult).  The term “age spots” originated from the observation that the spots were common in older people.  While this association is more accurate, “age spots” and “liver spots” are still the same skin disorder.

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