What Do Liver Spots Look Like?

Liver spots can appear on the shoulders.
Liver spots can appear on the shoulders. (Image: "This is where the blow may hit, but not where it hurts" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Megyarsh (Lily M.A. Parminter) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Liver Spots, also called age spots, can appear anywhere on the body, but most commonly appear in the areas exposed most to the sun. These spots are unrelated to the function of the liver, but people used to think the liver was involved because the spots may be similar in color to liver.


Liver spots occur most often in people over the age of 40, according to Medline Plus. Exposure to the sun increases the amount of melanin production to turn patches of skin darker.


The color of the liver spot will be varying degrees of tan, gray, brown, reddish brown or black. The most common locations for liver spots include: face, arms, back of hands and shoulders.

Not Cancerous

Liver spots will not turn to skin cancer, according to Health Central. The shape of the liver spot will be irregular, not a perfect circle. The skin in the liver spot area is flat and smooth.


Most liver spots can be lightened with hydroquinone cream, which you can buy at most drugstores in 2 percent strength. Laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, chemical peels and cryotheraphy can also remove liver spots.


To prevent liver spots, wear sunscreen and stay out of the sun as much as possible. Wear a hat and protective clothing to keep the sun off your face.

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