Most people associate having a liver spot with being elderly, but these blemishes can affect anyone of any age. Liver spots are small areas of darkness that appear on the skin. Varying in size and shape, they can be black, brown, or grey and are often mistaken for freckles or moles. Liver spots most commonly appear on the hands, face, chest, arms, and shoulders -- areas that receive the most sun exposure.
Although called liver spots, these common discolorations have nothing to do with that organ. One of the alternative names for these mysterious spots is solar lentigines. This is because a primary cause of liver spots is the sun. Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin color. When exposed to sunlight, our bodies accelerate the production of melanin. Increased melanin levels turn the skin a darker color in an effort to protect it from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Years of prolonged exposure to UV rays causes melanin to form into clumps. These areas of darkened pigment are liver spots.
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