Condition 101 About Liver Spots

What is the definition of Liver Spots?

Liver spots are flat, brown or black spots that can appear on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun. They have nothing to do with the liver or liver function.

What are the alternative names for Liver Spots?

Sun-induced skin changes - liver spots; Senile or solar lentigo or lentigines; Skin spots - aging; Age spots

What are the causes for Liver Spots?

Liver spots are changes in skin color that occur in older skin. The coloring may be due to aging, exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet light, or causes that are not known.

Liver spots are very common after age 40. They occur most often on areas that have had the greatest sun exposure, such as the:

  • Backs of the hands
  • Face
  • Forearms
  • Forehead
  • Shoulders

What are the symptoms for Liver Spots?

Liver spots appear as a patch or area of skin color change that is:

  • Flat
  • Light brown to black
  • Painless

What are the current treatments for Liver Spots?

Most of the time, no treatment is needed. Talk to your provider about using bleaching lotions or creams. Most bleaching products use hydroquinone. This medicine is thought to be safe in the form used to lighten darkened skin areas. However, hydroquinone can cause blisters or skin reactions in sensitive people.

Talk to your provider about other treatment options, including:

  • Freezing (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatment
  • Intense pulsed light

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Liver Spots?

Liver spots are not dangerous to your health. They are permanent skin changes that affect how your skin looks.

When should I contact a medical professional for Liver Spots?

Call your provider if:

  • You have liver spots and want them removed
  • You develop any new symptoms, especially changes in the appearance of a liver spot

How do I prevent Liver Spots?

Protect your skin from the sun by taking the following steps:

  • Cover your skin with clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants.
  • Try to avoid the sun at midday, when sunlight is strongest.
  • Use sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Use high-quality broad-spectrum sunscreens that have an SPF rating of at least 30. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you go out in the sun. Reapply it often. Also use sunscreen on cloudy days and in the winter.


Habif TP. Light-related diseases and disorders of pigmentation. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 19.

James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Melanocytic nevi and neoplasms. In: James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 30.

Top Global Doctors For Liver Spots

Latest Advances On Liver Spots

  • Condition: Solar Lentigines
  • Journal: Dermatologic therapy
  • Treatment Used: Cryopeeling or Trichloroacetic Acid Peeling
  • Number of Patients: 25
  • Published —
This study compared the clinical outcome of using cryopeeling or trichloroacetic acid peeling to treat patients with solar lentigines.
  • Condition: Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation After Q-Switched 532-nm Nd:YAG Laser for Solar Lentigines
  • Journal: Lasers in surgery and medicine
  • Treatment Used: Oral Tranexamic Acid
  • Number of Patients: 40
  • Published —
The study researched the safety and effectiveness of oral tranexamic acid for preventing postinflammatory hyperpigmentation after Q-Switched 532-nm Nd:YAG laser for solar lentigines.

Clinical Trials For Liver Spots

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Enrolling by invitation
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 35
  • Start Date: September 14, 2020
A Single Center, Randomized, Double-blind and Placebo Controlled Clinical Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Brightening Micro-needle Patch on Facial Solar Lentigines
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: N/A
  • Intervention Type: Device
  • Participants: 50
  • Start Date: August 1, 2018
Advanced Harmonic Generation Microscopy for Treatment Assessment of Cutaneous Pigmentary Disorder