Why Are Brown Spots Called Liver Spots?

Why Brown Spots are Liver Spots | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale

Why Are Brown Spots Called Liver Spots?

Those brown spots on your skin are also called age spots, and are a type of hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage and develop over several years. They are one of the most common complaints at Spectrum Dermatology, and in many cases are easy to treat. However, older generations refer to these signs of aging as “liver spots.” It’s not a very attractive name, and most people are uncertain where it came from.

There was a time when brown spots were thought to be linked to liver issues. That isn’t true at all, but it’s one of the theories of how “liver spots” got their name. Others say it’s because the spots become the color of liver. No matter how you spin it, it’s a colloquial name that’s fallen out of favor. However, some would argue that “age spots” aren’t a much kinder nickname.

These brown spots, or sun spots, are usually harmless blemishes that are the result of years of sun exposure. Usually, the only immediate sign of sun damage is a burn or tan. Sometimes you might notice a new freckle. However, the actual results of sun damage are cumulative. You might not be able to see the full effects of that sun tanning session until years later. Age spots occur with age because it can take years for sun damage to become visible.

Brown spots can range in color, from a light brown to nearly black. They are most common in parts of the body that are regularly exposed to the sun. As such, our face, hands, and limbs are the most obvious areas for brown spots. There are a number of treatments for these unsightly blemishes, including peels, microdermabrasion, and laser skin therapy.

Contact Spectrum Dermatology Today!

Brown spots don’t have anything to do with your liver, but they do have something to say about sun damage. They can be an indicator that your skin was largely unprotected, and a reminder to stick with that annual skin check for skin cancer. Although brown spots are rarely biopsied for potential cancer, in some rare cases that might be your dermatologist’s recommendation. For more information on brown spot treatment, sun protection, and skin checks, contact Spectrum Dermatology.